Tempe sees positive results from efforts to address homelessness

Sep 8, 2023, 8:45 AM

A woman engages with an unsheltered individual in Tempe, Arizona. The city counted 355 people exper...

Tempe, Arizona, counted 355 people experiencing homelessness during a point-in-time count conducted June 15, 2023, down 30% from the previous summer's homeless census. (Facebook Photo/City of Tempe Government)

(Facebook Photo/City of Tempe Government)

PHOENIX – Tempe is seeing positive results from its efforts to address homelessness, according to data released Wednesday.

The East Valley suburb announced that 355 unsheltered people were documented during a point-in-time (PIT) count conducted June 15, a decline of about 30% from last summer.

“I think the main driver behind the success in addressing our unsheltered homeless here in Tempe has been just a collective effort of the entire city, starting really with the coordinated effort around the river bottom,” Tempe Community Health and Human Services Director Tim Burch told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Burch said 75 people living in unsafe conditions in the Salt River bottom were contacted, and over 50 accepted offers to be connected with services.

How does Tempe monitor homelessness situation?

Tempe staff and volunteers conduct PIT homeless counts twice a year, once as part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ regional homeless census in January and once each summer.

Tempe counted 515 people experiencing homelessness during its summer 2022 PIT census and 406 in January of this year.

The counts provide valuable snapshots that policymakers consult as they work to address the homelessness issue.

“Not only do we have these point-in-time counts that happen twice a year; we have a weekly dashboard out there for all of our citizens or residents to check to see what progress we made this week in dealing with this issue,” Burch said.

“We’re all about the data. I want to put as much of it out there to help us make decisions as possible.”

Hotline connects those in need to Tempe services

Burch said the “backbone” of Tempe’s efforts is its CARE & HOPE Line (480-350-8004), part of the city’s HOPE (Homeless Outreach Program Effort) program.

More than 7,000 calls came into the line in the last year, Burch said.

“Thirty-five hundred of those calls have been about unsheltered individuals, and a lot of them directly from unsheltered residents themselves saying, ‘Look I need some help, can someone come?'” he said.

The HOPE response team is staffed 24/7 to provide not only food and water but to offer services such as shelter and treatment programs to put people in need on the road to self-sufficiency.

“We want to make homelessness brief, rare and one time for any individuals. That’s our mission, we’ll keep focusing on that,” Burch said. “And I hope to see continued progress as we go into the winter months.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Benjamin Brown contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

29 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

1 hour ago

In this Sept. 30, 2011, file photo, solar panel installation continues at a rapid pace at the Mesqu...

Associated Press

Over 1 million Arizona customers to see rooftop solar fees increase

About 1.4 million customers in Arizona will be paying more for electricity now that regulators have approved a rate hike.

2 hours ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Police investigating fatal hit-and-run collision in west Phoenix

Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run collision that killed a female pedestrian in west Phoenix.

4 hours ago


David Veenstra

Arizona gets $10.3M in federal funding to restore ecosystem

The U.S. Department of the Interior is investing $10.3 million to restore Arizona's lands and waters this year.

6 hours ago

(City of Glendale Photo)...

Police search for suspect after 2 people were shot in Glendale

Police are searching for a suspect who allegedly shot two people in Glendale early Saturday.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Tempe sees positive results from efforts to address homelessness