PHX C.A.R.E.S. homeless program unveiled at City Hall

PHX C.A.R.E.S attempts to connect homeless individuals with city officials experienced in ending homelessness. (John Spevacek/DD)

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and several other city council members detailed the new Phoenix (PHX) C.A.R.E.S program designed to combat homelessness at a press conference Monday.

PHX C.A.R.E.S stands for “Phoenix Community Action Response Engagement Services”. The program is based around a singular phone number and website people can utilize to get in contact with necessary city programs that address homelessness. It then attempts to connect homeless individuals with city officials experienced in ending homelessness.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen almost a 60 percent increase in unsheltered persons in the Maricopa region over the past two years,” Stanton said. “These numbers are daunting and we can’t stand for them.”

The program works with residents reporting things such as encampments to the phone number or the website. The reports are then processed by the Human Services Department, which works in tandem with Community Bridges Inc. to dispatch specialized outreach teams.

These teams are expected to respond within 24 hours of a referral. CBI is a medical and behavioral healthcare non-profit organization serving 14 Arizona communities, including Phoenix. CBI also provides education and preventative care measures to those involved in its services. The group looks to connect homeless residents with its rehabilitation programs.

District 8 Councilwoman Kate Gallego elaborated on other steps the city took to address homelessness.

“The housing subcommittee has voted to invest more inter-partnerships with community leaders so that we have more social workers out there working with homeless individuals in our community,” said Gallego. “We’re also deeply grateful to our partners in the non-profit community … We really need all hands to step up and get involved.”

District 7 Councilman Nowakowski addressed other cities in the Maricopa region.

“I’d like to challenge my colleagues from our neighborhood cities to create a program like this also. The city of Phoenix can’t be the only city providing shelter and funds for our homeless,” said Nowakowski. “We’re giving help, we’re giving mentors, we’re giving people that can help find solutions, we’re coming to the root core of why these people are homeless.”

The program incorporates city services from the Phoenix Housing Department, Neighborhood Services, Human Services, the city prosecutor’s office, the Streets Department, the Parks Department, Phoenix Public Works and the Phoenix Police Department.

The phone number to contact PHX C.A.R.E.S is 602-262-6251 and the website is: https://www.phoenix.gov/phxcares.

Contact the reporter at jspevace@asu.edu.