FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kelly Taft
MAG Communications Manager
PHOENIX (January 19, 2017)—In the early morning hours of January 24, 2017, volunteers will fan out across Maricopa County to count and survey people experiencing homelessness. Coordinated by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the count utilizes volunteer teams that include city, county, and state representatives, community and faith-based organizations, businesses and private residents. The volunteers will canvas areas to interview people who are living in situations not suitable for human habitation, such as cars, parks, or on the streets.
“The street count gives us a vitally important snapshot of the number of homeless people who need resources on any given night. That yearly benchmark helps all of us working together to address homelessness to best determine what kinds of services are most effective,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, chair of the MAG Regional Council.
“The count is significant to the region for many reasons,” said Chandler Vice Mayor Kevin Hartke, who co-chairs the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board, tasked with addressing homelessness in the region. “Surveying people who are experiencing homelessness helps us to understand their needs, identify trends and tailor resources appropriate to help get them off the street.”
Continuum of Care Board Co-Chair Amy Schwabenlender noted the importance of the count in securing federal funding for permanent housing resources. Schwabenlender, who also serves as the vice president of Community Impact for Valley of the Sun United Way, notes the funding is used to support critical homeless assistance programs. Since 1999, the region has been awarded $374 million to provide permanent housing and services for people who are homeless. “The annual street count, combined with data we have about individuals and families served in shelter and transitional housing throughout the year, helps us to prioritize resources and ‘right-size’ homeless interventions to best meet the needs of the community,” Schwabenlender said.
Last year the street count identified 1,646 homeless men, women and children on the streets. In addition to those living on the street, the 2016 point-in-time count also found 4,056 people living in emergency shelters, Safe Haven, or transitional housing. The count found 413 individuals are experiencing chronic homelessness on the streets including 75 veterans, making up more than half of the 131 veterans on the street.
Media opportunities are available on the day of the count or during training sessions. Please contact Anne Scott at email@example.com or (602) 254-6300, for additional information.
Annual Point-in-Time Homeless Street Count
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 5:30 a.m. to noon
All towns and cities in Maricopa County.
Volunteer teams, which include city, county and state agencies, faith- and community- based organizations, businesses and private residents.
The media will be allowed to accompany identified outreach teams upon request.
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