Since 1976, the MAG human services committees have collaborated with a number of key stakeholders, such as state and county agencies, municipalities, community-based organizations and funders of human services within the MAG region to identify strategies to address human services priorities at the regional level. Older adults, homeless individuals, and survivors of domestic violence are populations served through collaborative efforts across the region.
Poverty is an issue that has no boundaries. It affects individuals and families in all age groups. In 2013, 16.7 percent of people in this region were in poverty. Of children under 18 for whom poverty status is determined, 23.9 percent were below the poverty level, compared with 7.6 percent of people aged 65 years and older.
According to the US Census Bureau 2013 American Community Survey estimates, 43.5 percent of households in poverty receive food stamps. Of all households in Arizona that receive food stamps, 59.4 percent have children under the age of 18.
In Arizona, there are more than 1,294,109 adults aged 60 or over, according to the 2013 American Community Survey 5-year estimate. The demographics and lifestyle choices of older adults are changing and many are living longer, healthier lives. Many are “re-careering” and looking for renewed purpose in their later years, while others have delayed retirement because the recession has depleted their savings and investments.
It is projected that by 2020, the 65 and older population in this region will increase by 25.5 percent — from 563,721 in 2015 to 707,726 people in 2020.
The rate of disability increases dramatically as people age. In Maricopa County, 10 percent of the population had at least one disability in 2013. This figure increases threefold for seniors. During the same time period, 32.7 percent of the population aged 65 years and older are living with a disability.
There are 136 nonprofit, private, and public agencies that offer human services transportation in this region. Together, they provide more than nine million trips a year, connecting people to employment, medical care, and education.
Transportation is a critical issue in this region. The vast majority of people prefer to drive now, walking is a distant second choice, followed by getting rides from family and friends. Nearly 90 percent of older adults report they drive as their primary mode of transportation. Projecting ahead 10 years, the story changes dramatically. Only two-thirds still see themselves driving in the future. Transit usage is projected to increase from 11 percent now to 30 percent in the future. Therefore, planning for the impact of the projected increase is critical.
As of January 2014, there were approximately 5,918 homeless people living on the streets or in shelters in the region. Homeless shelters are at capacity every night.
Over the period of one year, approximately 14,000 people are served in shelters. Thirty-eight percent of people in shelters report being homeless for the first time due to loss of employment and income.
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another (National Network to End Domestic Violence). One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and it is one of the most chronically underreported crimes.
The MAG Protocol Evaluation Project is assessing the protocols used by the criminal justice system in addressing domestic violence crimes. In 2011, the project developed the region’s first misdemeanor domestic violence protocol model. The model identifies 28 recommended practices for law enforcement’s response to domestic violence. The model is used across Arizona.
Human Services Committees
The MAG Human Services Coordinating Committee advises the MAG Regional Council on human services-related issues and develops regional human services plans. It is supported by the MAG Human Services Technical Committee.
The MAG Continuum of Care Board is the decision-making body for the Continuum of Care. The Board prepares and submits an application for homeless assistance funding to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and addresses regional issues relating to homelessness.
The MAG Continuum of Care Regional Committee on Homelessness develops the Regional Plan to End Homelessness and prepares a consolidated application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support homeless assistance programs.
The MAG Regional Domestic Violence Council develops and implements strategies to reduce the incidence of and trauma associated with domestic violence, including the Regional Plan to End Domestic Violence.
The AdHoc Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Transportation Committee develops a priority listing for federal transit funding for capital, operating expenses, and mobility management projects to meet the specific needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities.