Maricopa County homeless count up by 35% since 2020

Mar 12, 2022, 7:15 AM

(Facebook Photo/Central Arizona Shelter Services)...

(Facebook Photo/Central Arizona Shelter Services)

(Facebook Photo/Central Arizona Shelter Services)

PHOENIX — Homelessness in Maricopa County remains on an upward trend and is anticipated to continue, according to a regional planning agency.

Over 5,000 people were homeless in unsheltered situations on the night of Jan. 25, the Maricopa Association of Governments said Friday after conducting a point in time (PIT) count.

The number of unsheltered county individuals was up 35% from 3,767 in 2020.

“This point in time count underscores what we already know — homelessness is a critical issue for the Valley,” Mesa Mayor John Giles, chair of the MAG Regional Council, said in the release.

“This is a regional challenge that needs regional solutions. These numbers are much more than statistics — they represent individuals, each with their own unique story. They are our neighbors, and our community. We all have a role to play in ensuring their access to safe, attainable housing.”

The recently released numbers comes after a PIT count didn’t take place last year due to ongoing concerns with the COVID-19.

A full report of those experiencing homelessness across the county is pending and will include shelter and unsheltered numbers, along with other supplemental data, MAG officials said in a press release.

The Maricopa County region has experienced an increase in homelessness every year since 2014, and some local governments anticipated the uptick to continue in part because of the effects from the pandemic.

The 2020 count found a one-year increase of 18% in unsheltered homelessness, which is consistent with the current two-year trend, the release said.

Volunteer teams conducted the count entirely electronically, through a app developed by MAG in 2018.

The Maricopa Association of Governments is made up of a group of local governments that provides regional planning and policy decisions.

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Maricopa County homeless count up by 35% since 2020