Phoenix Homeless Problem

Phoenix homeless problem

In the month of March, there were quite a few articles that highlighted the Phoenix homeless problem, due to the inaction of the Phoenix City Council.

I was talking about homelessness ad nauseam in 2018 and reporters then weren’t even asking about it. 

We had more than 20+ forums/debates throughout our city and rarely did the question come up but I found a way every time to insert my solutions to this very complicated problem. I remember questions ranging from climate change and light rail to the Suns arena and legalizing marijuana.

I’d do my best to answer the questions and talk about issues important to our campaign: public safety, homelessness and poverty, and infrastructure like our streets, sidewalks, water, and parks.

This response during a televised debate was a question regarding homeless people riding on light rail.

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BOTTOM LINE: There is no silver bullet to fixing homelessness. Complex problems require complex solutions but you’ll never come up w solutions if you don’t do two things:

  • Bring the stakeholders to the table. The solutions I presented then and now come from those that address homelessness daily.
  • Present the information to the public and be transparent about the process. City Hall ignores this problem and rarely talks about it which is why it’s so frustrating for those on the front line.

We have some amazing organizations in our city that tackle this problem daily and they are too busy fighting those daily battles addressing homelessness to fight City Hall’s inaction.

As your next Councilman, I will fight this battle, and make sure something gets done about it!

“How metro Phoenix’s inaction on homelessness burdens working-class neighborhoods”

Jessica Boehm of the Arizona Republic

“Phoenix is a complaint-driven city,” Morgan Sailor said. “It’s very easy to convince people here that they’re not entitled to the same services as other people. That they’re not important enough. That we’re just not a priority.”

Many of her fellow Democrats — especially those who live in upper-class neighborhoods and don’t have homeless encampments in their parks — chastised her for speaking out about homelessness.

If no one is complaining, city officials can ignore the situation, she said.

Phoenix Homeless Problem

“Slightly more than 5,000 people are living on the streets of metro Phoenix, according to the latest countywide count of people experiencing homelessness.

The point-in-time count conducted in January found 5,029 people experiencing homelessness outside of shelter. That’s up 33% from 3,767 in 2020. There wasn’t a count in 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns.

The dramatic increase is troubling but not unexpected. Homelessness has increased in metro Phoenix each year from 2014 to 2020, and experts predicted the pandemic-caused recession led to more homelessness.”

“This is because metro Phoenix has a severe shortage of emergency shelters. The county has fewer than 2,000 emergency shelter beds, and they are full nearly every night.

Phoenix had the largest number of people experiencing homelessness with 3,096. Mesa and Glendale followed, with 451 and 406 respectively.

Guadalupe, Sun City and Glendale saw the largest percentage increases in people experiencing homelessness between 2020 and 2022.”

“Arizona has fewer shelter beds for homeless youth than it has in years, more young people becoming homeless, and high rates of sex and labor trafficking among homeless youth, research shows.

This month, the National Homelessness Law Center gave the state a “critically low” score in its annual review of laws and policies that impact homeless youth. Only two states, North Dakota and Arkansas, received worse scores.

report from the Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research released earlier this year found that 40% of people interviewed who were experiencing homelessness between the ages of 18 to 25 had experienced sex or labor trafficking.

LGBTQ youth are even more likely to be exploited, the report found.

The most significant provider of youth shelter and services, Tumbleweed, went bankrupt in 2016, and most of its services folded and have not been replaced. 

“What we’re seeing here in Maricopa County is so distressing. Almost all of our youth homeless programs have disintegrated,” ASU professor Dominique Roe-Sepowitz said.”

Social Impact Partnerships
Increase Affordable Housing Options
Reduce Regulations & Bureaucracy