State, county officials shift funding to address Phoenix's homelessness issue

Individuals will be matched with a caseworker to assist them on getting the resources they need to pay their own housing.   File photo

While sleeping mats have been available for homeless individuals on 11th Avenue and West Jackson’s Human Services Campus in Phoenix, state and county officials have unanimously agreed to redirect funding originally intended for temporary overflow shelters to permanent housing solutions. 

The move is aimed to address the homeless issue in Phoenix and to create a sustainable solution in the long run. 

“The overflow was always a temporary solution," Maricopa County Human Services Director Bruce Liggett said. "The real solution is permanent housing with support services. That’s where the funding is making the most impact.”

The county and state are collaborating with nonprofits, such as Lodestar Day Resource Center and St. Vincent De Paul, to provide alternate arrangements including diversion, shelter, rapid rehousing, and permanent supportive housing. 

“Hundreds of homeless individuals and families have been placed in permanent housing in the past three years, and this redirection of funding will quickly push that number into the thousands,” Arizona Department of Economic Security Director Michael Trailor said. 

In addition, homeless individuals will be matched with a caseworker to assist them on getting the resources they need to pay their own housing. This way, these homeless people will be able to lead productive lives that can benefit not only them, but also the entire community.

“The state has committed more than $30 million to address homelessness in Phoenix in the past 20 months alone.... [through] sheltering, rehousing assistance, and adding additional supportive housing units in the city,” Carol Ditmore, director of the Arizona Department of Housing, said.

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