Ex-Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey: ‘Tough love’ should be part of homelessness response

Jun 15, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: Jun 16, 2023, 12:54 pm

PHOENIX – Former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said the state can be a leader by addressing its homelessness problem with both compassion and “tough love.”

“These are, oftentimes, people that need services, they need things to be addressed,” Ducey said in an interview that aired Thursday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show. “There’s alcoholism and addiction and drugs and mental health and people that are just down on their luck for whatever reason.”

He also acknowledged that the state’s economic development has contributed to the rise in homelessness, calling it “the other edge, or the other side of the coin, of high growth and the dynamic economy.”

Ducey, who was governor for eight years before leaving office in early 2023, said the state’s role is to provide resources, but it’s primarily up to local governments to develop and implement strategies.

“There is a way to do this,” he said. “It requires some resources. It requires some tough love, and there’s a way where Arizona can be a leader on how to do this in a humane and compassionate way.”

Ducey cautioned against putting too much money into the homelessness support system, something he says has been happening in cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“They have what I would call a homeless industrial complex,” he said. “Every time they get more money for homelessness, they get more homeless people.”

In Maricopa County, the number of people experiencing homelessness increased by over 70% between 2017 and 2023, according to the point-in-time census conducted by the Maricopa Association of Governments once a year.

Ducey said leaders should create policies that protect people experiencing homelessness while ensuring the safety of the public and businesses.

“They just need to act on this,” he said. “It needs to be something that can be addressed. We’ve seen how it is spread here in Phoenix.

“I don’t want to act as if it wasn’t here several years ago, but you’ve seen how different it is right now.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs, left, and Eli Crane are seen together in a file photo. They were among fi...

Alexandria Cullen and Adrienne Washington/Cronkite News

Arizona Reps. Biggs, Crane vote to block defense bill as shutdown looms

Two Arizona lawmakers were among five GOP House members who broke ranks Thursday and voted to block the defense authorization bill.

26 minutes ago

Robert Wolff, 86, is the subject of a Silver Alert issued out of Wickenburg, Arizona, on Friday, Se...

86-year-old Wickenburg man goes missing, prompting Silver Alert

Authorities issued a Silver Alert on Friday morning for an 86-year-old Wickenburg man went missing a day earlier.

1 hour ago

(City of Phoenix Screenshot)...

Balin Overstolz McNair

Phoenix City Council passes long-awaited short-term rental restrictions

The change effectively moves the city from a list-keeping registration process to one where the city will give out licenses to allow property owners to operate short-term rentals.

3 hours ago

Sammy Hagar joins Alice Cooper onstage during the Power Of Love Gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena on F...

Kevin Stone

Here’s what we know about 2023 version of Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding benefit

The date and star-studded lineup are set for the 21st edition of Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding benefit concert in Phoenix.

3 hours ago

(Flickr Photo/ADOT)...

Westbound Interstate 10 in West Valley only weekend freeway closure

A closure of westbound Interstate 10 in the West Valley is the only one scheduled on freeways this weekend.

3 hours ago

Aerial view of Arizona State Fair, Ballet Under the Stars and Luis Miguel...

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for Sept. 22-24

There are plenty of things to do around the Valley this weekend, such as attending the Arizona State Fair, Cardinals game or a concert.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.

Ex-Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey: ‘Tough love’ should be part of homelessness response