For Immediate ReleaseContact: Kelly Taft, MAG, 602-452-5020
PHOENIX (Jan. 3, 2023) – More than 1,000 volunteers will fan out across the Valley on January 24, 2023, in a yearly effort to count the number of people experiencing homelessness in the region.
The Point in Time Homelessness Street Count will be conducted on Tuesday, January 24, at 6 a.m. in cities across the Valley. Hundreds of volunteers will scan alleys, parks, riverbeds, building doorways and other areas in an effort to get an accurate count of the number of people experiencing homelessness at a single point in time. The count provides a one-night snapshot of the number of men, women and children living in unsheltered situations or on the streets. Those who are in shelter also will be counted the same night to achieve a total homelessness picture.
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 count provides a snapshot of how many people in our region are experiencing homelessness on a given night and the information allows us to identify the best resources to help people access services and find housing,” said Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise, chair of the MAG Regional Council. “We can spot trends, identify gaps, and get an understanding of the overall resources needed in our communities to address the ongoing increases in homelessness throughout the Valley.”
Rob Podlogar chairs the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board, the regional group tasked with addressing homelessness in the region. He also serves as the Chief Community Development and Engagement Officer for the Valley of the Sun United Way.
“Volunteers hope to engage with individuals to learn their individual stories of what led to their homelessness and the challenges they face in attaining housing,” said Podlogar. “If they don’t wish to be interviewed, the volunteer will capture what information they can. The count is extremely valuable in determining how many people need resources, the specific challenges they face, and what types of resources are most needed.”
Volunteers are needed, and anyone interested in volunteering can find the contact for their local coordinator on the MAG website.
This year, the teams will continue to use the same mobile app used successfully in 2020 and 2022. In 2022, the count found more than 9,000 people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County on a single night. These numbers represented a two-year homelessness increase of 22 percent in overall homelessness in the region and a 34 percent increase in unsheltered homelessness.
Those interested in covering the count are encouraged to contact Kelly Taft or Katie Gentry as soon as possible for coordination of times, teams and locations. Members of the media should note that final numbers from the street and shelter counts will not be available until April 2023.