Homeless Crisis


Ruby Reynolds, Staff Member

Do you see the homeless on a daily basis, maybe while driving home from school or on the way to the grocery store? This is because Phoenix has long been a hotspot for the homeless, mostly because of its warmer climate, and now, more than ever, the homeless population is growing. 

With Covid taking away jobs, and a still recovering economy, the homeless are experiencing a crisis. According to Courtney Holmes of ABC 15 Arizona, “Nearly 7,500 people were found to be experiencing homelessness in the most recent Point in Time Count.” That number represents a faster rate of increase than anywhere else in the nation, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG).These numbers come from a society trying to get back to how things were pre-pandemic. 

Especially with this pandemic, jobs are becoming harder and harder to tie down. Courtney Holmes of ABC 15 Arizona also says “Unsheltered homelessness reached 3,767 in 2020. That is an increase of 579 over 2019. And it is the first time the number of unsheltered people has outnumbered those in a shelter. There are several reasons for that, but two of the biggest are a lack of housing and stagnant wages, according to Human Services Campus (HSC) executive director Amy Schwabenlender.” Additionally, homelessness is most often caused by family disputes, and economic reasons, with eviction and loss of employment not far behind. 

This increase in the homeless has not been unnoticed by the public though. According to Linda Williams of Fox 10 “People who drive on the Valley freeways may have noticed more homeless encampments in some areas. According to the 2020 Point-in-Time Count conducted by Maricopa County officials, there are over 7,400 people experiencing homelessness in the county on the night of Jan. 27, 2020. Of these, 51% of them are considered to be unsheltered.” These unsheltered people are also in this state because housing is not being built at a rate that can keep up with the amount of people moving here. Many people come to Arizona looking for jobs as the Valley continues to grow, but find themselves incapable of finding adequate housing. In addition, shelters are not large enough to match the amount of homeless that are being created, leaving many on the streets. And Phoenix isn’t the only city experiencing something like this. According to the Chronicle editing board “Meanwhile, 63% said an inability to afford rent was the primary culprit; 11% of unhoused San Franciscans actually had jobs.” Making the homeless crisis a problem in multiple big cities.

With this growing crisis, it is important to raise awareness, and consider helping out, which you can do at either https://phoenixrescuemission.org/give/needs/ or https://homewardboundaz.org/donate/ .