Estimate: 1 in 5 Phoenix homeless are veterans

Nov 6, 2013, 5:00 AM | Updated: 7:13 am

PHOENIX — About 1 in 5 homeless people on Phoenix streets are veterans.

“It’s not right to have anybody who served this nation living on the streets,” said Mike McQuaid with the Human Services Campus.

McQuaid’s facility shelters about 1,100 people each day, many of whom are veterans.

McQuaid said he has one goal and believes it is within reach: “We will end chronic homelessness in Phoenix within the next 12 months,” he said.

McQuaid said the strategy is no longer simply getting veterans off the street and into a shelter.

“The thinking used to be that you had to get the homeless veterans clean, sober, mentally stable before you got them into housing,” he said. “Almost never did that happen in the shelter or on the streets.

“Now we’re taking the individual and putting them into housing with support services wrapped around them and then 85 percent of the chronically homeless will stay in that housing.”

A new Maricopa County website should help in achieving that goal.

“A lot of the time, the communication as to where there are resources and benefits along with housing and employment opportunities is lacking so this website should be a great tool to help the service providers and the veterans find the help they need,” said McQuaid.

Phoenix has been singled out by the Obama Administration as a model for its work in cutting its number of homeless veterans.

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Estimate: 1 in 5 Phoenix homeless are veterans