ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County’s annual point-in-time count breaks trend in rising homelessness

May 24, 2024, 4:35 AM | Updated: 6:25 am

PHOENIX — New data shows that fewer people are experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County than last year.

In fact, 9,435 people experienced homelessness in Maricopa County on January 22 this year, according to the annual “Point-in-Time” (PIT) homelessness count.

This is about 200 fewer people than in 2023, marking the first time the homelessness count hasn’t increased since 2017.

It marks a 2% reduction in people experiencing homelessness, according to Brian Gruters, the regional homelessness program manager for the Maricopa County Association of Governments (MAG).

“We saw a large reduction in the number of people living unsheltered,” Gruters told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “That was about 17% reduced this year compared to last year.”

Officials define unsheltered individuals as people who live on the streets, in parks, in vehicles or in places not meant for human habitation.

Unsheltered individuals include those living on the streets, in parks, in vehicles, or places not meant for human habitation.

The number of people utilizing shelter space rose by 13%. Gruters said this may be due to improved shelter bed accessibility.

“The fact that we’ve done a lot of work in the last two years as a community to develop more shelter beds is significant,” he said. “I’d say that’s what we’re going back to, and that’s what we’re really taking away from it.”

What’s the purpose of the “Point-in-Time” homelessness count?

Although the PIT count isn’t the main tool used to track homelessness in the Valley, it serves an important role.

It serves as a snapshot in time. Further, it’s a requirement for certain programs to receive funding.

While the recent data suggests a possible dent in the issue, the numbers seem less promising in a historical context.

In fact, the recent numbers show the Valley has yet to come close to reaching the lower levels of homelessness seen before the pandemic.

“Looking at 2018 … you see numbers more in the 7,000 range, and what I look at is: Can we get back to the pre-pandemic numbers? We’re nowhere near that yet,” Gruters said. “It just tells us we have a lot of work left to do as a community.”

The solution starts with more affordable housing, he added.

“Shelter is good, and it’s a significant achievement having people off the street, one that we should celebrate,” Gruters said. “But folks who are experiencing homelessness in a shelter are still experiencing homelessness. We want those people to no longer be experiencing homelessness someday.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Mugshot courtesy of Tempe PD, file photo from Tempe PD Facebook)...

KTAR.com

Officers shoot suspect who allegedly rammed police vehicle at Tempe parking garage entrance

Two Tempe police officers fired at a suspect who allegedly rammed his car into theirs at a parking garage late Thursday night.

7 hours ago

Six people have died from heat-related causes in metro Phoenix this year. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, F...

Associated Press

At least 6 heat-related deaths reported in metro Phoenix so far this year as high hits 115 degrees

At least six people have died from heat-related causes this year so far in metro Phoenix, where the temperatures this week hit 115 degrees.

8 hours ago

Deleon Haynes, 19, was arrested in connection with two investigations after he was sentenced earlie...

KTAR.com

Court seeks to revoke Gilbert teen’s probation following new arrests

Deleon Haynes, the first adult sentenced in connection with East Valley youth violence, was arrested again by Gilbert Police on Friday.

8 hours ago

A Border Patrol agent leads a group of migrants seeking asylum towards a van to be transported and ...

Associated Press

Border Patrol reports arrests are down 25% since Biden announced new asylum restrictions

Border Patrol agents saw the third-fewest arrests of people illegally crossing into the U.S. in May of any month during the Biden presidency.

9 hours ago

A shelter in place in Buckeye was lifted after about two and a half hours. (@BuckeyeAZPD photo)...

KTAR.com

Shelter in place lifted in Buckeye after crews clean nitric acid spill

A shelter in place was lifted after about two and a half hours Friday evening after officials worked to contain a chemical leak in Buckeye.

10 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: How giving to area food banks has a direct impact on Arizona children

Food Bank Fridays continues with Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos. The guys up their goal, receive a donation from the Tunderbirds and hear the direct impact donations have on children in Arizona. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

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.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Maricopa County’s annual point-in-time count breaks trend in rising homelessness