New Path To Housing For Homeless And Mentally Ill Planned In Tempe

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 5:05am

Tempe plans to partner with a nonprofit to provide housing for the city’s mentally ill homeless residents.

The City Council will vote on a contract with Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care worth almost $285,000 on Thursday.

Tempe’s Housing Authority will use those funds to secure housing and supportive services for 25 Tempe residents. Councilwoman Lauren Kuby, who’s worked on the initiative, said clients could get rental assistance for up to two years.

“Generally those who are chronically homeless have a lot of mental health or health issues that they are dealing with and so it's not enough to just give a Band-Aid solution or push them from one place to another,” Kuby said. “We really want to find solutions.”

In addition to finding a home, clients also will have the services of a behavioral health caseworker. If approved, Kuby said to expect the program to be rolled out in the next few months.

The most recent point-in-time survey of Maricopa County’s homeless population found there were 434 adults with serious mental illness living on Arizona streets and an additional 432 in shelters.

Kuby says city staff is aware of about 50 people with serious mental illness who don’t have a permanent home in Tempe.

“So we’ve had many touches with these folks and we keep records and talk to them and there’s always this hope that at one point we’ll be able to bring more into the system,” Kuby said.

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