Aid Groups Eye Unused Phoenix School As Potential Migrant Shelter

Aid groups helping migrant families dropped off by federal authorities have set their sights on an empty school near Sky Harbor International Airport as a potential overnight shelter, but opening the facility is at least weeks away.  

The Ann Ott School hasn’t had students for years.

A use permit application filed Tuesday with the city of Phoenix said there’s enough room to serve between 100 and 300 migrants a day.

Ann Ott is owned by the Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1, which has been working to strike a deal so the International Rescue Committee and others can use the school as a shelter.

An agreement has not yet been finalized. One item left on the checklist is to make sure the building meets city code, district spokesperson Sara Bresnahan said.   

“We care about people. We care about the immigrants. It’s a humanitarian crisis that we would like to support solving,” she said.

The use permit application submitted this week is scheduled for a public hearing on July 2.

Phoenix spokesperson Angie Holdsworth said it is the earliest opportunity for a hearing. Use permit applicants have to follow city rules for notifying neighboring property owners about the proposal to temporarily house migrants at Ann Ott School. 

By Mathew Casey for FRONTERAS

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