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Valley's homelessness rate jumped 36% during pandemic

In the first homelessness count done since the pandemic began, Maricopa County recorded having 1,362 more unsheltered people compared to January 2020.

PHOENIX — The number of people experiencing homelessness in the Valley has increased by 36% over the last two years. 

An annual count conducted across Maricopa County on the night of Jan. 25 found 5,029 unsheltered individuals, which is a significant jump from the 3,767 counted in January 2020. 

A count was not done in 2021 due to the pandemic.  

The spike in numbers recorded in 2022 is the largest increase seen in the Valley over the last few years. 

The cities of Chandler, Peoria, Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix reported major increases in their homeless counts. 

Riann Balch, the city of Chandler's community resources manager, said rising housing costs coupled with the pandemic's economic woes have resulted in a housing dilemma across the Valley. 

“Rapidly changing market conditions and economic hardship heightened by the pandemic have created opportunities to work together across sectors and geography to address the housing crisis,” Balch said in a statement.

The cities of Tempe and Buckeye reported small decreases in their homeless counts. 

How can you help? The following organizations provide resources for locals affected by the housing crisis:

  • Donate through the Healthy Giving Council: givesmartaz.org
  • Volunteer through Hands on Phoenix: handsonphoenix.org
  • Support a range of housing options in your community, including affordable housing and temporary housing solutions. More information is available through the Arizona Housing Coalition at azhousingcoalition.org

The Maricopa Association of Governments' Regional Council approved a plan in December to address the Valley's housing crisis.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: La tasa de personas sin hogar en el Valle aumentó un 36% durante la pandemia

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