Scottsdale joins municipal chorus to seek ways to end homelessness

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Scottsdale is joining forces with other East Valley municipalities to explore solutions to address homelessness, as the increased amount of folks in need is creating a concern for the region.

On Nov. 25, Scottsdale City Council approved a resolution authorizing the municipal collaboration.

The multi-jurisdictional effort sets out to focus on ways all parties can work collaboratively to provide one or more of the following resources:

  • Coordinated entry points and housing assessments;
  • Public and private subsidized housing programs;
  • Faith-based and other shelter programs;
  • The different rapid re-housing programs and how they can be accessed;
  • Housing programs specific to those with behavioral health issues and/or substance abuse issues;
  • A comprehensive and easily digestible guide to assist staff in helping clients navigate resources; and
  • A comprehensive and easily digestible guide intended to assist clients in accessing services.

The resolution states, the municipalities agree an array of resources and interventions including, but not limited to housing for all incomes, homelessness prevention and diversion, assertive outreach, emergency lodging, transitional and bridge housing, and permanent supportive housing are needed to maintain a system in which homelessness is rare, one-time and non-recurring.

In October 2017, East Valley city and town managers began to meet to discuss regional homelessness, an issue described by city officials as difficult and complex.

It was determined that impacts of homelessness are not confined to one city or town, the city staff report states, and it would be beneficial to mutually discuss opportunities, best practices, share resources and other information in a group setting.

To date, there have been six meetings, with Scottsdale attending three.

The benefits of a regional collaboration include improved information exchange, leveraging resources, defining common goals and strategies and sharing data.

Together, Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Maricopa County and the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Governing Board, recognizes that homelessness is a humanitarian challenge impacting households with and without housing in all jurisdictions.

Each of these cities and towns have taken resolutions to their councils for review and approval; should this collaboration identify the need for a future agreement between the municipalities, such agreement will be presented to each jurisdiction’s governing body for decision, the staff report states.

The Human Services Department has worked over the past several months to develop a Human Services Homeless Initiative, the staff report written by Human Services Director, Greg Bestgen states.

One of the more difficult complications related to homelessness is how individuals access services, especially housing, the staff report states. It is important that those working in the arena of human services understand the entrance points related to housing.

“This is no small task as there is not any one city, town, agency or entity that singularly coordinates the complex web of services,” Mr. Bestgen said in his report.

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