Phoenix Vice Mayor Urges Caution On Homeless Program Rollout

Published: Monday, October 2, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Monday, October 2, 2017 - 5:05am
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
A homeless man asking for money in downtown Phoenix.

As Phoenix prepares to launch a new program aimed at homeless encampments, the vice mayor is urging caution.

The program is called “PHX C.A.R.E.S” and it’s supposed to work like this: You see a homeless encampment, you call a designated number, and the city sends an outreach team. Depending on the situation, other city departments may get involved.

MORE: Phoenix To Launch Homeless Encampment Program

While being briefed on the program, Vice Mayor Laura Pastor pushed staff to make sure internal systems are working and public expectations are realistic.

“I think there are key dialogues that still have to be part of the discussion of the collective because we’re going to think, okay we have PHX C.A.R.E.S. and now the expectation of PHX C.A.R.E.S. in the community is that it’s working and the frustration that’s going to happen in the community is that we’re not moving fast enough,” she said, “I just want to very careful how we roll out Phoenix C.A.R.E.S. because they’re going to think this number is going to solve many things.”

The program will focus on homeless encampments and trying to get people into services. Phoenix is scheduled to unveil the phone number and launch the program in October.

Councilman Michael Nowakowski called on other cities to “do their fair share, too.” During the Parks Subcommittee meeting, he said Phoenix provides about $4.2 million to fight homelessness.

“We have the only homeless campus in the state and we become the mecca for the homeless individuals,” he said. “That’s wrong.”

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