In March, the Maricopa Association of Governments reported that those living in unsheltered situations climbed by 35 percent since 2020. The new numbers of those who were staying in shelters during the night of the count show a 9 percent increase, making the increase in total homelessness 22 percent. The numbers reflect a two-year increase, since the 2021 count was not conducted due to the COVID pandemic.

“The Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care is committed to using data from the PIT Count and the regional Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to understand more about the population experiencing homelessness in the region, and to provide solutions that will make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring,” said Riann Balch, who chairs the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board, the regional group tasked with addressing homelessness in the region. Balch also serves as community development and resources manager for the city of Chandler.

An analysis of the data provided additional insights into the demographics of those experiencing homelessness:

  • 65% of the population experiencing homelessness identified as male, 35% identified as female, and less than 1% identified as either transgender, gender non-conforming, or questioning.
  • By race, there was a slight increase in the white population and multiple races, while there was a slight decrease in Black or African-American and American Indian or Alaska Native populations.
  • The largest age group from the PIT Count is adults (age 25+), which accounted for 78% of the 2022 PIT population. Children (age 0-17) make up 14%, while youth on their own (age 18-24) make up 8% of the count. The proportion of adults and youth reported from the PIT Count slightly increased from 2020 to 2022, while the proportion of children decreased.
  • The Point-in-Time (PIT) Homeless Count report is available on the MAG website.

The number of people experiencing homelessness has continued to rise in recent years. Previous to the pandemic, the Maricopa County region experienced increases from 2014 to 2020, consistent with national trends. The most recent increase is a result of numerous local and global factors. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maricopa County is growing faster than any other county in the nation, creating housing demand and decreasing housing availability. The global pandemic strained economies worldwide, resulting in the loss of jobs, particularly low wage jobs. This placed people more at risk of experiencing homelessness.

In December, the MAG Regional Council unanimously approved “Pathways Home, the Regional Homelessness Action Plan for Local and Tribal Governments,” the first regional homelessness plan created by local and tribal governments. A number of activities and investments are already underway to implement the Pathways Home plan and achieve progress in addressing homelessness in the region. Find out more about ways individuals and businesses can help.