Over the next two years, Phoenix plans to add 769 beds to emergency shelters and temporary housing facilities. That’s in addition to 475 beds added this year.

A multi-session community housing summit related to helping the homeless is slated for later this month — and comes at a critical time as local organizers work on a new shelter solution before winter hits.

The summit, “From Homeless to Housed: Community-Driven Solutions,” will be held virtually from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Rachel Milne, the city’s homeless solutions director, says all new city-owned shelters will include extensive outreach to nearby neighbors and businesses, along with, “closed campuses with no walk-up services, street outreach teams that will transport new clients on a referral."

In September, the council approved a $931,000 contract with Lutheran Social Services to oversee a program where churches will provide emergency shelters. The program is expected to be in place early in 2023.

Earlier this year, the city council approved a $9 million contract with Mercy Care to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment for residents who are uninsured or underinsured, with an emphasis on those experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

Homelessness is a concern that’s weighed on community organizers for several months after the Blue Water Area Rescue Mission shuttered its men’s shelter on 24th Street last March, leaving a vacancy in services for men in St. Clair County.

Earlier this year, BWARM’s founders, who cited health concerns at the closure, said they originally planned to re-open by Nov. 1 but have faced difficulties re-establishing the facility with a new director.