As you help to support the outreaches and work we do at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, we believe that it's important to keep you up-to-date on the current status of homelessness nationally and in the Valley.
Nationally, the homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010. Specifically in Maricopa County, the number of unsheltered increased about 25 percent over last year and is up nearly 60 percent from two years ago.
The Maricopa Association of Governments released in May the results of its 2017 "point-in-time" count and reported:
An astounding 37 percent of Maricopa County's homeless people are families, usually a single mom with kids. Phoenix area ranks fifteenth highest in the U.S. for the number of homeless people in families.
It has been cited that the growing population and a lack of affordable housing has dramatically contributed to the rise in homelessness. Surprisingly, the growing economy is believed by many organizations to be a significant reason for this increase. Rent costs have increased beyond affordability for many lower-wage workers who up until recently could typically find an otherwise affordable option.
This increase in the overall number of homeless falls closely in line with the increased and experiential-based concerns of numerous service agencies like Phoenix Rescue Mission and Phoenix residents. Throughout the Valley, we are finding more people sleeping outside in places like bus stops and alleys, or additionally outside the central hub of homeless providers near downtown Phoenix.
Please prayerfully bring these growing areas of need before God, that you may be inspired to help and that we may see the tide turning in a much different direction in 2018. Thank you for your continued help and support that allows us to bring hope and light into these areas of darkness throughout the Valley of the Sun.