Less homeless people had shelter in Maricopa County in 2020 than any other year

Organizations in Maricopa County will be receiving tens of millions of dollars to fight homelessness and it's all thanks to federal funding from a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program.

In Maricopa County, housing experts say they only expect the homelessness problem to get worse as more people are dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local homeless programs in Maricopa County are receiving $33 million from HUD in an effort to fight homelessness.

"Really making sure we have the funding to solve the crises as possible is an imperative," says Tamara Wright, Chair for Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board.

It's all a part of the Continuum of Care Program that provides support to local programs serving the need.

HUD granted an automatic renewal process making it quicker for these organizations to get what they need to help those they're serving.

"It takes months of planning and getting everyone squared away and so to have this process be a simple renewal has been wonderful for everyone involved," Wright says.

Last year, Maricopa County saw unsheltered homeless outnumber the in-sheltered homeless, making 2020 the first time that has ever happened.

Much of this is due to the pandemic, which is why a large sum of the grant money will be crucial to the organizations providing relief.

"Lower-income people are not recovering. They are not making their rent. They have lost their jobs. While high-income people haven’t had as much of an impact on our lower-income folks," Wright says.

For more information on homelessness resources in Maricopa County, visit maricopa.gov/1216/Homeless-Services.