Maricopa County working to combat homelessness through various services, funding

Jun 13, 2023, 3:00 PM

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Rescue Mission, File)...

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Rescue Mission, File)

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Rescue Mission, File)

PHOENIX — While homelessness has been on the rise in Arizona over the years, the state’s most populous county has been launching services through various forms of funding in an effort to connect those most in need of help.

Jacqueline Edwards, director of Maricopa County Human Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Evening News on Monday that a system needs to be created in which homelessness is brief and rare for anyone who experiences it.

“So that means partnerships at all levels of government, as well as collaborating across sectors, like with nonprofits, the business community and the faith-based community,” Edwards said.

“That’s why that $125 million, specifically for homelessness, has been invested by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and much of that is in partnership with other government systems here throughout Maricopa County, homeless service providers and other providers, as well.”

The county has used funding for various initiatives, such as daytime respite centers, heat relief kits, outreach and shelter beds.

“We’ve partnered with the cities of Peoria and Scottsdale to make sure that there’s transportation to respite centers, as well as heat relief kits,” Edwards said.

“So if someone can’t get to a center and they’re experiencing homelessness, they can have a water bottle, can have sunscreen, they can have other key essential items that may keep them safe and try to be cool while they are living on the street.”

Edwards advised anyone who is experiencing homelessness to call 211, as individuals can get connected to a coordinated entry system that can help end their homelessness.

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Maricopa County working to combat homelessness through various services, funding