Volunteers conducting annual homelessness count around the Valley

Posted at 9:17 AM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 11:18:30-05

Volunteers are taking to the streets Tuesday morning to get an accurate number of those experiencing homelessness around the Valley. 

Last year's count identified 1,646 men, women and children on the streets. An additional 4,056 people were living in emergency shelters or transitional housing. More than 400 people were experiencing chronic street homelessness including 75 veterans, but 131 veterans were on the streets at the time of the count. 

The annual homeless street count, put together by the Maricopa Association of Governments and volunteers, gives officials a better estimate of what services and support are needed in the Phoenix area.

"Surveying people who are experiencing homelessness helps us to understand their needs, identify trends and tailor resources appropriate to help get them off the street," said Chandler Vice Mayor Kevin Hartke, who co-chairs the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board, tasked with addressing homelessness in the region.

The surveys have allowed the region to get $374 million for permanent housing and services for homeless people since 1999.