Tempe ramping up efforts to help homeless with comprehensive services
PHOENIX — The City of Tempe is deepening its commitment to providing comprehensive services to people who are homeless.
With an emphasis on social innovation, Tempe has enhanced its homeless response in recent months by intensifying outreach, addressing encampments, refining data collection and engaging the community in its efforts with new tools, such as the one-call CARE & HOPE Line (480-350-8004).
The city is focusing on a comprehensive system of support, including street outreach, case management, social services, crisis response, mental health resources, victim and veteran services, emergency and transitional shelter, housing navigation and permanent housing solutions.
Led by Human Services staff, this response includes multiple city departments and nonprofit and faith partners.
Tempe has 11 HOPE (Homeless Outreach Prevention Effort) outreach specialists, up from six this spring, and now has outreach staff available 24/7. A new HOPE team coordinator has also been on staff since earlier this year. Team members are trained specialists, often with personal experiences with homelessness. They meet with people each day to connect them with shelter, housing and resources.
Since April, about 1,900 individuals have worked with the city toward housing and about 550 have been helped into housing.
Tempe has been divided into five geographic zones for coverage. This ensures that outreach and engagement is occurring daily across the city. Specialists are also assigned to the city’s shelter locations and engage with people at Tempe Municipal Court’s mental health court. In addition, Tempe collaborates with Arizona State University to provide outreach on and around the campus.
In August, the city launched an encampment reporting tool that provides a simple way to share information about encampments citywide. It can be found on the city’s 311 app or online. Tempe also launched a public dashboard to track progress.