Publication Date: October 10, 2009

By Jan Buchholz, The Phoenix Business Journal.

Arizona’s largest homeless shelter will open this weekend when 112 single-parent families move into the remodeled Days Inn motel at 3333 E. Van Buren St.

The project, undertaken on behalf of UMOM New Day Centers, required a huge investment from the Valley’s business and political communities, in terms of both cash investments and sweat equity. It
took more than two years to complete.

A huge block party is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Saturday, with local dignitaries on hand. That’s also when the families will move from their current home across the street, the former site of the Sands Resort Motel.

Van Buren Street will be closed between 32nd and 38th streets to facilitate the move.

Phoenix Vice Mayor Tom Simplot, who also serves as president of the Arizona Multihousing Association, will kick off the grand opening with Phoenix City Councilman Michael Johnson, U.S. Airways Group CEO Doug Parker, Hensley Distributing CFO Andy McCain, and other business and community leaders.

The Phoenix Business Journal first reported on the campaign to create more livable accommodations for homeless families in October 2007. An impressive array of businesspeople arranged to buy the aging motel for $12 million and set about to raise an additional $6 million for improvements.

“We reached out $18 million goal in June,” said UMOM spokeswoman Jan Halpin. “There’s another $5 million to be raised that will go into phase two.”

For now, the organization is happy to provide the newly remodeled rooms and amenities for the families it serves.

Other local companies that participated in the fundraising and renovations were McMurry Publishing Inc., Kitchell Custom Homes, Weitz Co., Clarifacts Inc., Roberts/Jones Associates, Resident Data, Butte Cos., Bank of America, P.B. Bell Cos., Midwestern University, American Express, Fennemore Craig PC, U-Haul International, Get Your Move On, Northern Chemical, D’Zigns by Debi, Facings of America, Consumer Plumbing, Century Refrigeration, Burns Pest Elimination, Laguna Builders, Dakota Security, Cable-It Communications, Frazee Paint and Rotary Clubs of the Valley.

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