Pinal County Homelessness
 Homelessness

What does homelessness look like?

· 82,000 Arizonans are receiving emergency food boxes a week in Arizona.

· More than 14,000 Arizonans experience homelessness each day.

· 30% of Arizona’s homeless population are children and teens.

· In one year, the working poor in Arizona have seen a 10% increase in costs to maintain basic living necessities such as food, shelter and clothing.

· Almost 50% of the homeless are women, children or families.

· The fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.

· 43% of children living in homeless families are under the age of 6.

· 16% of the single adult population suffers from some form of severe or persistent mental illness.

· At least 40% of the adult homeless population has an addiction disorder.

· 23% of homeless men are US veterans.

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WHAT MAKES THE PROBLEM WORSE?

Social Services are so broken and with so much red tape that someone must navigate can seem impossible and is overwhelming. Homeless individuals have to work hard to regain their independence- but they have no real resources and transportation to make it all happen. Once an individual is homeless, or is on the brink of becoming homeless, the downward moment takes a hold of them and simply just sucks them in. On any given day there are hundreds in our communities that face this future.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

· We can create more awareness by leading conversations in our communities on this topic. Every community is experiencing some form of homelessness concerns and we need to have open and honest conversations about what we can and cannot do and bridge the gaps.

· Develop a “Project Hope” type of service day where the specific needs of homeless, or at risk, individuals are met. Homeless needs are different in many ways than working poor families. These Project Hope sites would cater to the individuals that are struggling with actual homelessness.

· To advocate for more coordination of wrap around services

WHAT ARE THE HURDLES

ACCESS TO SERVICES

Pinal County is so big that bringing services to all parts of the county will be a challenge. This same distance that is a struggle for agencies is a mammoth of a mountain for a homeless individuals. A lack of access to technology also makes seeking assistance difficult. The United Way is working on developing several Project Connect sites around the county

RE-ENTRY INTO CIVILIAN LIFE

Individuals that have served prison terms are at much higher risk of becoming homeless. Their journey to acclimate back into post prison life is much harder than it may seem. Usually there are underlying addictions that need to be contended with, fines and penalties that need to be paid to the court, probation terms to be satisfied all with little society and sometimes family support. Many prisoners feel rejected by society upon release and struggle with mental health issues. It is difficult to find employment with a criminal record and beginning a new chapter in their life sometimes eludes them.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

· Facilitating Homeless Coalitions in communities where we are invited

· Bringing the right community partners and agencies together to find solutions to root concerns

· Advocate for accurate winter/summer counts so that proper grant funding can be obtained to help agencies respond to community need

· Creating intercounty connectivity with neighboring counties to find, adapt and implement solutions that could impact people’s lives for the better

· Cents4Change roundup program that allows community members to roundup at the register to donate to community specific efforts to address homeless efforts

· Advocating for more effective post prison transition management services and supports

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