ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s what 2023 point-in-time count found about Valley homelessness trends

Apr 27, 2023, 9:07 AM | Updated: 11:27 am

PHOENIX – More people are experiencing homelessness in metro Phoenix than a year ago, but fewer are going without shelter, according to this year’s single-day point-in-time count.

Homelessness increased by 7% in metro Phoenix over the last year, but the number of unsheltered people declined by 2%, according to a report released Monday by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the Valley’s regional planning agency.

“The biggest change has really just been that increase in sheltered folks,” Katie Gentry, MAG regional homelessness program manager, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“We are continuing to see more people being able to enter shelters and hope that we continue to drive in that direction.”

The point-in-time count, conducted annually by hundreds of volunteers, provides a valuable snapshot that policymakers consult as they work to address the homelessness issue.

“These new numbers underscore the ongoing challenge we face in addressing homelessness, which continues to be of major concern to the region and a priority for MAG,” Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise, chairman of MAG, said in a press release.

“This issue matters to everyone residing in our region. Homelessness has far-reaching effects that impact individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities. It is first a human concern, but it also significantly impacts society and the economy.”

The 2023 street and shelter census found 9,642 people experiencing homelessness on the night of Jan. 23, up from 9,026 in the 2022 count. Of those counted this year, 4,908 were unsheltered, compared to 5,029 from a year ago.

Nearly half of the people experiencing homelessness did have shelter. The number of sheltered people counted went from 3,997 in 2022 to 4,734, an annual increase of 18%.

“That is really due to our jurisdictions, nonprofits and foundations coming together to open additional shelter beds across the region,” Gentry said.

The shelter increase was a “huge step in the right direction,” Gentry said, but it’s a constant struggle.

“We are seeing more people experiencing homelessness for the first time … within the region,” she said.

“As we’ve continued to see more people experiencing homelessness, we’re not able to open shelters fast enough to be able to bring more folks inside.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Heidi Hommel contributed to this report.

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Here’s what 2023 point-in-time count found about Valley homelessness trends