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AARP Of Arizona Hosts Panel About Why More Seniors Are Becoming Homeless

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 5:06pm
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 1:01pm

Dana Kennedy of AARP of Arizona
Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ
Dana Kennedy of AARP of Arizona moderated the panel discussion about homeless seniors.

The number of older Arizonans who are becoming homeless for the first time is on the rise. And once a person becomes homeless, it can take up to two years to get into affordable housing.

That’s according to Dana Kennedy, AARP of Arizona’s state director. Senior homelessness isn’t just an Arizona problem, it’s a national problem, which is why Kennedy hosted a panel discussion this month to talk about the issue.

She invited advocates including Amy Schwabenlender, executive director of the human services campus.

"The public may not know there’s not enough shelter beds in Maricopa County for everyone experiencing homelessness so every night, regardless of age there are people who are unsheltered," she said.

Lisa Glow is CEO of CASS, the Central Arizona Shelter Services, an emergency shelter in downtown Phoenix.

"And it’s because we have a lack of affordable housing in our communities. Rents are going up, they went up 8% last year in Maricopa County, and time after time, story after story, men and women are telling us they were evicted or they couldn’t pay their rent anymore," she said.

Glow said CASS sought funding during the last legislative session for a separate senior shelter. She says while they had the support of lawmakers, they did not get the funding. 

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