Verde homeless group gets P&Z nod; Sedona homeless center shuts down
The Verde Valley Homeless Coalition has gained Cottonwood Planning and Zoning approval for its new homeless drop-in shelter, along with a $13,000 check from rock star and local businessman Maynard Keenan, a pledge of a $10,000 car and $2,000 in donations to operate the facility next year.
“We’re so grateful to Maynard,” said VVHC Director Raena Avalon.
Avalon on Wednesday felt confident that her plan to open a larger day shelter for homeless people in the Verde Valley will happen. However, she said local residents still have 15 days from Monday’s P&Z decision to appeal to the City Council.
VVHC wants to relocate from its current location on South Main Street to a larger building at 327 S. 15th St. where it can serve 20 homeless people on cold-weather nights in the winter as opposed to the current 12. The drop-in center is also now open every day and would double in size in the new location.
Sedona homeless wandering
As the Cottonwood-based homeless group moves forward, the Sedona Area Homeless Alliance Wednesday had to shut down its homeless drop-in center and clean out all the furniture, free supplies and clothing inventory, food pantry and other belongings.
SAHA said it had to vacate the resource center in West Sedona because the landlord did not want to renew the lease. The organization’s possession are in storage and the search has begun for a new location, SAHA director Laurie said,
“We’re handing the keys back in today,” Laurie said on Wednesday. “We’re looking for a building in West Sedona to continue services.”
“People are wandering around right now, wondering where to go,” she said. “It’s a hard thing to see.”
escaping the heat
In Cottonwood on Wednesday as temperatures hovered in the mid-90s, Avalon sat at her desk at the VVHC Cottonwood shelter that was packed with more than a dozen homeless men and woman retreating from the heat.
She said about seven or eight people spoke up at Monday night’s Planning and Zoning meeting in favor of the new location for the homeless shelter on 15th Street, and a couple of residents, who lived nearby, spoke against it,
They can appeal it to the city council within 15 days, Avalon added. “I really believe we have the support of the city council,” she said.
Verde Valley Homeless Coalition hopes to move into the new building by Aug. 1.
The building is at the end of a dead-end on 15th Street in Cottonwood.
It serves as a cool shelter in the summer and warm shelter on cold nights in the winter. Avalon also provides computers and a gateway to other social services, such as housing, jobs, health and food.
Originally, Avalon wanted to purchase the entire building on 15th street and turn the other half into transitional housing.
But the VVHC and city officials determined that it would cost too much to renovate and bring up to code, so they will only lease the drop-in space at the front of the building, she said, adding that they would love to purchase a another building when they have the money for transitional housing someday.