Maricopa County sees rise in homeless veterans, but numbers are down statewide

Posted at 7:04 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 22:04:11-04

Despite a nationwide drop in veteran homelessness, Maricopa County has seen an uptick. 

According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data released Monday, there are 450 homeless veterans -- a more than 7 percent increase -- across the Valley this year.

The numbers are an outlier compared to the rest of the state. In Pima County, the number of homeless veterans dropped 1.4 percent.

Statewide? A 15.1 percent decrease. 

President Barack Obama briefly addressed the issue while talking to disabled veterans in Atlanta Monday. 

"We've got to keep fighting for the dignity of every veteran, and that includes ending the tragedy -- the travesty -- of veteran homelessness," Obama said. 

Anne Scott, the human services planner at the Maricopa Association of Governments, the agency that coordinates the annual homeless count, said better counting may be behind the increase.

"We had a more concerted effort around our homeless count in time, that may contribute to the increase in veterans," Scott said. 

MAG looks at time of service and whether a homeless person is eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs programs.