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Flagstaff Expands Emergency Shelter

Flagstaff
Laurel Morales/KJZZ
In Flagstaff, more than 150 people are without a roof over their heads on any given winter night.

Five years ago, eight people froze to death in Flagstaff. That changed when a group of citizens and Flagstaff Shelter Services Director Ross Altenbaugh created a backup plan.

"We were getting to a place a scary place, where it would be October and hailing outside," Altenbaugh said. "We weren't even geared up for our overflow yet and we'd have 140 people 150 people showing up at the shelter with 100% capacity."

Flagstaff Shelter Services has almost doubled its 100-bed capacity in its expanded facility. In addition, it is able to provide shelter for families, instead of giving them hotel vouchers.

Now Altenbaugh said the shelter can work with them to find a more permanent solution. Through Flagstaff's rapid housing program, two individuals a week are getting keys to their own home. The program helps with things like a security deposit or finding a job or budgeting so 85% remain housed after a year.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.