Homelessness in Arizona
We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Approximately 1 in 5 Phoenix residents live below the poverty line (City-Data.com, 2009). This population includes individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds. At André House the majority of our clientele are single, homeless adults. In Maricopa County, 4251 people live in Permanent Supported Housing, 7555 live in shelters, and 2587 are “unsheltered,” (living on the street) (Department of Economic Security, 2010). Among those who are in shelters:
- 1 in 3 are children
- 15% are veterans
- 20% have experienced domestic violence
- 31% are chronic substance abusers
- 16% suffer from a mental illness
The guests who come through our doors are not limited to homeless individuals. We serve a substantial number of low income and working poor residents. The poverty level in Arizona is $22,350 annual income for a family of four, which can only be an annual income for anyone making a $10.72 wage working a typical number of hours (Association of Arizona Food Banks). Minimum wage in Arizona is $7.35 (Industrial Commission of Arizona).
Links for Phoenix Agencies
CASS – the largest homeless shelter in Phoenix
St. Vincent de Paul – a large food and clothing distribution network that complements André House’s services
St. Joseph the Worker – helps train and council those who are actively seeking employment
LDRC – provides programs to assist and enhance the lives of the homeless
St. Mary’s Food Bank – nonprofit organization in the Phoenix area that fights hunger by distributing food to sites that serve the hungry.
Madison Street Veterans Association – offers personal, individualized services, basic resources, community and advocacy for all veterans.
Chaplaincy for the Homeless – offers homeless individuals help in obtain IDs, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates.
Links for Local Resources
Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness – fighting homelessness through education, advocacy and coordination
Arizona Department of Economic Security – statistics on homelessness in Arizona
The Arizona Organizing Project – homeless rights organizing In Phoenix
Links for National Resources
Interagency Council on Homelessness – branch of the Federal government working on homeless issues
National Alliance to End Homelessness – policy advising through research
National Coalition for the Homeless – homeless awareness through education and organizing
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty – homeless legislative advocacy
Housing and Mortgages on Affordable Housing – information about finding affordable
housing and obtaining a mortgage