Group: More People Living On Metro Phoenix Streets Than Last Year

Published: Friday, May 5, 2017 - 5:05am
Updated: Friday, May 5, 2017 - 11:20am
(Photo courtesy of Maricopa Association of Governments)
A volunteer talks to a man as part of the 2017 Point-in-Time count in Maricopa County.

More people are living on Valley streets compared to last year while the overall number of homeless people dropped a bit. That's according to figures released Thursday from the 2017 Point-in-Time count.

When the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care led the annual count last January, it determined 5,605 people were experiencing homelessness. Compared to last year, the overall number, which includes people in and out of shelters, had decreased by 97. However, the number of people living on the streets increased by 413.

The group says improved methodology for the count may contribute to the higher number. In a press release, Chandler Vice Mayor Kevin Hartke, who co-chairs the Continuum of Care Board, said cities used additional professional outreach workers to count in areas with high concentrations of homeless people. He also blamed a lack of affordable housing for the increase.

Image courtesy of Maricopa Association of Governments

The Maricopa Association of Governments coordinates the annual Point-in-Time count. It’s meant to provide a snapshot of the number of homeless people at a given point in time. From 2013 to 2017, overall numbers have fluctuated between 5,600 and 5,900.

Starting Monday, May 8, KJZZ will launch “Homeless In Plain Sight,” a week-long series focusing on the people, programs and potential solutions.