Phoenix area sees 35% rise in homelessness; new numbers broken down by neighborhood
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — New numbers show the homelessness problem is getting worse in the Phoenix area, which was expected. The Maricopa Association of Governments released new numbers on Friday, which show the number of people without a home has climbed by 35% since 2020. More than 5,000 people are experiencing homeless as of Jan. 25.
Phoenix has nearly 3,100 homeless people in 2022, up from 771 in 2014. Glendale also saw a big increase, having 406 homeless people in 2022 compared to 39 people. Mesa had 55 people living on the streets in 2014 but now has 451. The study noted there wasn’t a count in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For a full breakdown, click/tap here.
The new report didn’t get into the reasons for the rise in homelessness. However, officials pointed to the pandemic causing economic hardships, including job losses. It’s also been noted the cost of living and rent have skyrocketed in recent years.
The homelessness numbers were created through counts from volunteer teams that include city, county, and state representatives, community and faith-based organizations, businesses and more. The point-in-time count is supposed to be a one-day snapshot of homelessness. For 2022, workers used a MAG-developed app to get the closest accurate count possible.
Maricopa Association of Governments Human Services Planner Katie Gentry coordinated the study. She says federal money for homelessness resources depends on it. The group unanimously approved back in December a plan to tackle homelessness called “Pathways Home, the Regional Homelessness Action Plan for Local and Tribal Governments.” Officials say activities and investments have already started but didn’t go into details.
“We want to know we understand the resource that are really needed in our community,” Gentry said. She says inflation is one of the factors for why homelessness is on the rise across the country. She says others need behavioral or mental health help as well. Gentry believes they need to keep speaking to homeless people to figure out exactly what they need.“The biggest challenge we have is we’re not giving people the resources they need at the right time. “They have the ability to get through today but not tomorrow, so we have to connect with them at the right time.”
Gentry says this study only includes people that are unsheltered. They will have a new report that includes people in shelters later this spring.
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