Newsroom | Annual Count Shows More People Staying in Shelter

MAG News

The 2024 “Point in Time” homelessness count show about the same number of people experiencing homelessness compared to last year, but with significantly more people in shelter and fewer on the street.

January Point in Time count shows 9,435 people experiencing homelessness in a single night, with fewer people on the street, more in shelter


Results released today from the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) from the 2024 “Point in Time” homelessness count show about the same number of people experiencing homelessness compared to last year, but with significantly more people in shelter and fewer on the street.

The count found 9,435 people experiencing homelessness on the night of January 22, including 4,076 people living on the street and 5,359 people in shelter. While fewer people spent the night on the street compared to 2023 (a 17 percent decrease), more people spent the night in shelters (a 13 percent increase).

Total PIT Count 2018-2024 bar chart and growth rate

The January 22 numbers reflect a regional effort to increase shelter beds in communities across the region. During the last year the region added 820 new or temporary shelter beds.

“This result is a win for our community. We are seeing that the investments we made in shelter are paying off,” said Rachel Milne, co-chair of the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board and director of the City of Phoenix Office of Homeless Solutions. “We know we have a long way to go still, but it’s great to see that people experiencing homelessness in our region are taking advantage of the additional shelter resources, which can be the first step for many in ending their homelessness.”

Required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the annual Point in Time homelessness count occurs in each metropolitan region in the United States during the last 10 days in January and is coordinated by each region’s Continuum of Care. MAG coordinates the Maricopa Regional count, which provides a one day-snapshot of homelessness. The count uses volunteer teams that include city, county, and state representatives; community and faith-based organizations; businesses; and private residents.

“Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of the Maricopa region, shelter space has increased and more people have moved off the streets and away from the deadly risk of extreme weather. This is a major sign of progress,” said United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Jeff Olivet. “But while shelter is an important step in how we treat the crisis of unsheltered homelessness, housing is the ultimate cure. People staying in shelter still need homes they can afford and services to help them along the way. Through the ALL INside Initiative and other avenues, USICH is dedicated to helping the region further expand housing and services until every person has a safe place to call home.”

The Phoenix metro area is one of several communities across the country participating in the ALL INside Initiative launched by USICH and the White House last year. Since then, federal agencies have embedded their experts in local offices to lower barriers to housing, health care, and other support for people living unsheltered.

The Point in Time count is just one of many data sources that the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board relies on to understand the homelessness picture, and many factors can impact the single-night count.

Sheltered and unsheltered demographics comparison

“A primary source of homelessness data comes from the Homeless Management Information System, which is gathered daily when someone interacts with the homeless services system,” says Continuum of Care co-Chair Vicki Phillips, who is chief clinical and development officer for Community Bridges Inc. “Using this database, MAG produces a quarterly homelessness trends report that highlights trends in the populations experiencing homelessness as well as system performance measures in Maricopa County. All of these data help improve understanding of one of the most difficult challenges facing our region, as well as how to best manage limited resources.”

Published May 24, 2024