The city of Phoenix is calling for the public’s help to keep the homeless in Phoenix warm this winter.

When temperatures dip low at night many homeless are left without blankets or sweaters to keep them warm on the streets. The city of Phoenix works with local outreach groups to identify those living on the street and provide some respite.

To help meet the need the city is asking for donations of sweaters, coats, pants, blankets, warm hats, gloves, and new socks and underwear. The biggest need is for clean blankets.

Donated items, which are tax deductible, may be delivered to any of the city’s three Family Services Centers: Travis L. Williams, 4732 S. Central Ave.; John F. Long, 3454 N. 51st Ave.; and Sunnyslope, 914 W. Hatcher Road.

“Outreach teams come and pick up items they need as they are doing outreach in the community,” said Libby Bissa, family advocacy center director. “The need really depends on how it’s going in the season. Sometimes it’s really busy and they’re running low and sometimes it goes pretty steady and we don’t get that low.”

Bissa said the winter outreach is very similar to outreach the city runs in the summer when there is need for water, hats and light clothing. Year-round the city also seeks donations of hygiene items, baby food or formula and diapers.

“It’s so valuable that we’re able to provide these things for the outreach teams,” Bissa said. “It really does impact the people living in the streets. We’re so thankful that there are so many people in Phoenix willing to donate and that are able to help out their fellow citizen.”

Outreach teams that use the items include Basic Mission, Catholic Charities, Church on the Street, Community Bridges, Healthcare for the Homeless, Home on the Way Ministries, Native American Connections Inc., Set Free Ministry, Son Lit Foundation, Southwest Behavioral Health PATH Outreach, Stand Up for Kids, TERROS, The Salvation Army/Project HOPE, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development and U.S. Vets. Children and baby items are distributed to families at the city’s emergency shelter facility.

The program is coordinated by the city’s Human Services Department. For more information, contact Anissa Blair at (602) 534-3071 or email anissa.blair@phoenix.gov.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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