in the Valley of the Sun

More than 25,800 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 2015, officials counted 25,832 homeless people in Maricopa County throughout the year. On one particular night, there were 4,342 homeless individuals in shelters and 1,289 on the streets. Which means that on any given day, there could be up to 5,500 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 37 percent of Maricopa County’s homeless people are families, usually a single mom with kids. The Phoenix area ranks fifteenth highest in the U.S. for 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.

25,832 people in Maricopa County are homeless

37% experiencing homelessness are families

1 in 184 Arizonans are homeless

Homelessness in Arizona

There are over 36,000 homeless people in the Grand Canyon State — one in every 184 Arizonans. Maricopa County holds 61 percent of Arizona's population, but an estimated 71 percent of the state's homeless population. Statewide, approximately 2,500 people are considered “unsheltered,” living on the streets. Most of them were single adults, and 79 percent of them were men.

The number of homeless people in families is on the rise throughout Arizona; many of them are victims of domestic violence. According to the DES, 4,346 adults and 4,095 children received help from domestic violence service providers in 2014.

So, why don't I see this many people on the streets? The simplified definition of homelessness is that one does not have a consistent, livable place to call their own. Take children for example. According to DES, there are 29,763 children (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) reported throughout Arizona as homeless. 65 percent of those children are doubled up (living temporarily with another family), 28 percent were living in shelters, which includes foster care, 4 percent were temporarily living in hotels, and 3 percent were living unsheltered.

At the Mission, we serve all of these percentages, but we are especially passionate about reaching that last 3 percent that are on the streets.

When it comes to homelessness, Arizona, Maricopa County, and Phoenix have a serious problem. But the Phoenix Rescue Mission is making a difference.

Please join us on the journey with your support today!

"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:

  • R.A.P. Unit
  • 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.