Reflections from the front lines serving individuals experiencing homelessness, through a global pandemic, Phoenix winter, and living up to the legacy of a champion.
COVID positive cases continue amongst employees and clients alike. The fatigue of COVID-mode affecting everyone, no matter your housing status. Our good fortune in receiving support, in the way of PPE and funding, over the last two years continues to be necessary. The end of COVID-mode is nowhere in sight.
What we were not sure of even six months ago is now reality. The demand for services is increasing. The required point-in-time count for Federal HUD funding was conducted this past week. Early numbers in the neighborhood of the Human Services Campus show over 700 unsheltered people. The local grapevine carries conversation that increases in unsheltered homelessness have gone up all across the Valley.
This should not be surprising.
Putting global pandemic economic effects aside, the population in Phoenix and Maricopa County has been on the rise for four decades. The population increased by 20% between 2000 and 2019. These aren’t numbers I’m making up. These are numbers reported in the City of Phoenix Housing Plan.
At the same time, housing production has not kept up with the pace of population growth. Wages have not grown at the pace to keep up with housing costs. The 2019 Plan identified a need of more than 163,000 housing units to meet the gap. We are so far behind. It really is no wonder that more and more people fall out of housing. [Read More]