ARIZONA NEWS

Metro Phoenix sees 22% rise in people living without shelter over past year

May 1, 2019, 1:21 PM | Updated: May 2, 2019, 10:09 am
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – The number of people living on the streets in metro Phoenix continues to rise, something one expert attributes in part to the lack of affordable housing options in the region.

There were 3,188 unsheltered homeless people in Maricopa County in January, an increase of 22% from a year earlier, according to data released Tuesday by the Maricopa Association of Governments.

“What that tells us is that more people are sleeping outside. … They’re in places not meant for human habitation,” Amy Schwabenlender, co-chair of the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board and executive director of the Human Services Campus, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“And they’re less safe, obviously, than people who would be in a shelter.”

The county’s Continuum of Care program, which works to end homelessness, conducts a one-day homeless count each year and reports it to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The 2019 tally was completed Jan. 21.

“We use this data to look at our local situation related to homelessness and use it to understand the root causes and to work on developing greater solutions,” Schwabenlender said.

She cited high eviction rates, a lack of affordable housing and increasing rental rates as key contributors to the rise in homelessness.

“I think all of those factors work against people who may have had the means previously to keep their housing, and then they have a crisis and lose their housing and it becomes really difficult to find the next affordable place to live,” she said.

Including those living in emergency shelters, transitional housing and safe haven programs, the region had 6,614 people experiencing homelessness in this year’s count, a 5% increase from 2018.

The number of unsheltered homeless has gone up six consecutive years. The sheltered homeless total has steadily declined over that period — it fell 7% to 3,426 over the past year — but not enough to offset the unsheltered increase.

In 2014, unsheltered people made up 18% of the area’s homeless population. That was up to 48% in 2019.

The tally included unsheltered pets for the first time this year, with 182 counted, including 10 service animals.

The data was submitted to Housing and Urban Development, which funds local Continuum of Care initiatives.

Schwabenlender said it will probably take a few months before a more detailed report is completed.

“Today’s release of information is really the first round of sharing the highest level data, and we have to go through a whole technical review process with HUD before we can further analyze and share more specifics around demographic, age, etc.,” she said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...
Danny Shapiro

Services to be held Tuesday for MCSO deputy killed in line of duty

Memorial services will be held Tuesday for a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty earlier this month.
17 hours ago
Rockwell Commander 112, File Image (Wikimedia Commons Photo/FlugKerl2)...
Associated Press

Wreckage of small plane located in southern Arizona; no apparent survivors

The wreckage of a small plane has been located in Pima County and there appears to be no survivors, authorities said Monday.
17 hours ago
Sarah Liguori was appointed to the vacant Arizona House seat for District 28 on Oct. 18, 2021. (sar...
Kevin Stone

Sarah Liguori appointed to fill Arizona House seat for District 28

Sarah Liguori was selected Monday to fill the Arizona House seat for District 28 vacated by Democrat Aaron Lieberman, who resigned last month to focus on his campaign for governor.
17 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@ArizonaDOT)...
KTAR.com

US 60 closed in West Valley because of cement truck fire

U.S. 60 in the West Valley was closed temporarily Monday during the noon hour because of a cement truck fire, authorities said.
17 hours ago
Mary Ann Friesen (Photo via Arizona Department of Public Safety)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert canceled after missing Chandler woman found safe

Authorities canceled a Silver Alert on Monday after a missing Chandler woman was found safe.
17 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/ADOT)...
KTAR.com

Fiery collision on Pima Freeway Loop 101 in Scottsdale leaves 1 dead

One person died in a fiery chain-reaction collision on a Valley freeway Sunday, authorities said.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
...
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Metro Phoenix sees 22% rise in people living without shelter over past year