COVID-19 derails 2021 count of homeless people in metro Phoenix


People experiencing homelessness move their belongings during a cleanup in Phoenix.

Every January, more than 1,000 volunteers scatter across metro Phoenix before the sun has risen, with one goal: Count all of the people experiencing homelessness. 

The annual Point-in-Time Count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is considered an important, but imperfect, tool for localities to evaluate the extent of their homelessness issues. 

But this year, the count will look different in many cities — and won’t happen at all in most of Maricopa County. 

Maricopa Association of Governments, the organization that runs the annual count, opted out of conducting a Point-in-Time Count this January because of COVID-19 safety concerns. 

“The majority of nonprofit providers, outreach teams and municipal coordinators just did not feel comfortable … due to the fact that of course COVID-19 is very dangerous and the Point-in-Time Count takes over 1,000 volunteers,” MAG Human Services Planner Sarah Kent said. 





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