in the Valley of the Sun
More than 17,500 people in Maricopa County have no place to call home.
“I didn’t know how to be homeless.”
That’s what Mark said after coming to the Phoenix Rescue Mission. The day before, he had been digging through a dumpster for food.
Who does know how to be homeless? Who wants to know?
It can happen to anyone, anytime. Sometimes it’s a result of circumstances beyond our control — job loss, eviction, divorce, domestic violence, mental illness, medical bills. Sometimes it’s a result of one’s own poor choices — most often, substance abuse.
It’s impossible to say exactly how many homeless people are in the Phoenix area. But in 2014, officials counted 17,558 homeless people in Maricopa County throughout the year. On one particular night, there were 4,865 homeless individuals in shelters and 1,044 on the streets. Which means that on any given day, there could be up to 6,000 homeless people in our county. And a still-recovering economy means that more and more people are experiencing homelessness for the first time — and many don’t know where to turn.
More families on the streets
The face of homelessness is changing too.
An astounding 40 percent of Maricopa County’s homeless people are families, usually a single mom with kids. The Phoenix area ranks seventh in the U.S. with the number of homeless people in families.
Families experiencing homelessness move frequently between shelters, overcrowded apartments, and temporary arrangements with relatives or friends. All that moving around is traumatic, particularly for children. Lack of consistency, routines, privacy, safety, health care, uninterrupted schooling, and more make it hard for kids to flourish socially, emotionally, and academically.
Homeless children are twice as likely to experience hunger, health problems, and repeat a grade in school. Homeless families need assistance with housing, employment, childcare, school enrollment, transportation, recreation, and parenting.
For such families, our Changing Lives Center for Women & Children is a beacon of hope.
17,558 people in Maricopa County are homeless
40% experiencing homelessness are families
1 in 227 Arizonans are homeless
"The Mission saved my life”
“I had never heard of the Phoenix Rescue Mission,” says Mark, who had been digging through dumpsters before coming to us for help. “But now I credit them with saving my life.”
Mark’s story is not unique. By God’s grace, and with the support of friends like you, the Mission has helped transform the lives of thousands over the decades. Programs and services include:
- Shelter / Emergency Services
- Changing Lives Center for Women & Children
- Addiction Recovery
- Hope Coach Mobile Outreach
- Spiritual Recovery
What Your Support Does
Your gift to the Phoenix Rescue Mission brings our city and community one step closer to wholeness as lives are transformed one person at a time. Food, shelter, clothing, education, addiction recovery, job training, and spiritual renewal — all because of friends like you.
Should I Give Money to a Panhandler?
How do you respond when you encounter a homeless person holding a sign, asking for money? Phoenix Rescue Mission has a list of five easy tips along with Rescue Referral cards for just such a situation. First, be prepared . . .
Volunteer. Transform a Life.
There’s a spot waiting for you as a volunteer! No matter your skills or talents, no matter how much time you’ve got, whether you’re an individual or part of a group . . . you can begin to transform a life today. Contact us, and we’ll plug you in when you’re ready to roll.