I come from a background of helping the homeless and most vulnerable in our community. My mom and dad formed the Christian Needs Network and dedicated their lives to serving others, helping those less fortunate and instilling the same values in their own kids. I care very passionately about ending homelessness in our city.
From day one as mayor, I have focused on ending homelessness and chronic homelessness in Phoenix. Here are more details on my office’s work on ending homelessness.
Mayor’s Office Senior Policy Adviser on Homelessness
Jodi Liggett serves as my senior policy adviser on homelessness. Jodi has worked with our community partners to create a roadmap to end chronic homelessness in Phoenix by 2015.
Mayor’s Homelessness Advisory Committee
This seasoned committee includes the heads of homeless shelters in Phoenix and experts in the field. These are the best minds in Phoenix on this topic, and we are building on their decades of hard work.
Phoenix Homeless Initiative
The Phoenix Homeless Initiative began in 2012 to prioritize housing for the chronically homeless on our streets. The initiative efficiently redeploys existing homeless services and grant funding at no new cost. Through a “housing first” strategy, 200 additional chronically homeless families and individuals will have access to permanent assisted housing over the next three years, with dedicated funding of $1.5 million, which comes from realigning city services and existing funding and combines services from the Housing and Human Services departments. The innovative “housing first” strategy allows homeless families, veterans, the chronically homeless and unaccompanied youth to move into permanent housing with supportive services and individualized case management.
Family Focused Initiative
Part of the Phoenix Homeless Initiative is the Family Focused Initiative, a joint partnership between the Housing and Human Services departments, that will provide 25 Public Housing units and case-work services per year for the next three years to assist families to move from the Watkins emergency shelter.
Vouchers Dedicated to Homeless Populations
Another part of the Phoenix Homeless Initiative includes vouchers targeted for the homeless that total 1,000 units from the following programs: HUD-VASH vouchers for veterans (595); vouchers for the H3 chronic homeless program (25); allocations of vouchers for project-based supportive housing (94); HOPWA-funded rental assistance (80); and other programs (202).
Youth Homeless Project
Working with Tumbleweed and one n ten, Phoenix will house 30 homeless former foster youth over a three-year period, and provide supportive services leading to self-sufficiency and independent living.
In response to our interest in Homelessness, U.S. Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness Director Barbara Poppe visited Phoenix in November 2012. This led to Phoenix’s inclusion in the 100,000 Homes Campaign Chicago Homeless Boot Camp.
Veterans Bootcamp on Homelessness Initiative
The bootcamp has housed nearly 150 chronically homeless veterans through cooperative arrangements with the VA, HUD, and the city.
Phoenix is a key partner in the Arizona StandDown, the state’s largest, singular outreach event for homeless veterans. Medical, dental, job placement, social services and other help was delivered to nearly 1,400 homeless and at-risk veterans the Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum in March.
The Phoenix H.E.R.O. Initiative is an ongoing employment initiative for the city, working to help veterans find jobs. Working with Madison Street Veterans Association (a homeless vets program) and others, 170 vets and 35 employers attended the first H.E.R.O. hiring event. Fifty interviews were arranged, resulting in 20 job offers. The program continues this year to find jobs for our veterans.
U.S. HUD Secretary Visit
My staff and I personally met with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, advocating for additional HUD/VASH vouchers, flexibility on Housing Choice Vouchers and for the secretary to personally visit Phoenix, which he did, on May 30, 2013.
Coordinated by Maricopa Association of Governments, Phoenix participated in January in the county-wide count of homeless living on the street. Along with the shelter count, this will provide the baseline for our efforts in Phoenix to end chronic homelessness.
Faith Forum on Homelessness
In September, the Mayor’s Office will host the first Phoenix Faith Forum on homelessness, to connect communities of faith who want to serve homeless individuals with city experts and experienced peer organizations who can advise them on best practices.
Chronic Homeless Bootcamp Initiative
A multi-disciplinary team, including the Mayor’s Office, traveled to Chicago to participate with 10 other cities in a process to quantify the number of homeless in each community, create an inventory of all housing resources and supportive services, and devise a plan for moving a record number of homeless people into permanent housing in the 100 days following the boot camp, with other, longer-term goals established after.
Since day 1 as Mayor, I have prioritized homelessness in my office and we're producing results for Phoenix. I look forward to continuing to work with our community partners, staff and city council to end homelessness in our city.