Arizona is among the leading states for homelessness. Everyday families and individuals struggle to find a place to sleep in safe settings.
As of January 2020, Arizona has 10,979 total homeless people. Of them, 7% are family households, 5% are young adults, 8% are veterans, and 18% are individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Chronic Homelessness are people who have experienced homelessness for more than a year.
Phoenix has many organizations that help with homelessness, one being the Phoenix Rescue Mission, which is aiming to curb the homeless population.
“The Phoenix Rescue Mission has helped 6,544 homeless people through their outreach program,” said Jussane Goodman, the director of community engagement at Phoenix Rescue Mission, which also supplies housing for homeless families and individuals.
“The Family Housing Hub had 190 families on the wait list for shelter in Maricopa County. Whereas, according to the same date range, there were 1,075 individuals assessed for housing and on the wait list for a housing voucher intervention in Maricopa County,” said Goodman.
There are a good amount who do make it past the waiting list and 4% of the women on that list came with children. There are 50 children total out of 748 residents.
Parents make up a good portion of those in the shelters, with “58% of women that live at the shelters are single mothers and 61% of men are single dads,” said Jesse Dallariva, the mission’s client services director.
Phoenix Rescue Mission has certain housing for the resident situations, such as changing lives center for women and children, transforming lives center addiction recovery for men, and R.A.P, a maximum seven-day Christ-centered residential program for men, women and mothers with children facing homelessness and seeking recovery from addiction or other life-controlling problems.
Recent job layoffs as a result of the pandemic, evictions, abuse, substance abuse, and lack of affordable housing are some of the leading contributors to homelessness.
“Over 50% is probably a good estimate of females who are homeless due to a toxic relationship,” said Dallariva.
Arizona recently implemented new practices designed to supplement the city of Phoenix’s ongoing “Strategies to Address Homelessness” plan developed in 2020.
“Arizona has had a high eviction rate that has only worsened in 2021. City council allocated $51.1 million in federal emergency rental assistance dollars to begin the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in March of 2021,” said the city of Phoenix human services.
Arizona ranked in the top 30% in homlessness out of the whole united states in 2020.
“Our program can range anywhere from seven days to three years, length of stay is subjective and determined by the specific context of the client’s scenario, but more than 2 years can begin to have a detrimental effect,” said Dallariva.
There are many other organizations to aid with homelessness such as Children Crisis Arizona, UMOM, Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS), Family Promise Greater Phoenix and many more. Those are just in Phoenix alone.
Gianna Abdallah is a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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