On June 20th, leaders from AHCCCS, the Arizona Department of Housing, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care and many community stakeholders came together at the Valley of the Sun United Way to discuss the intersection of housing and behavioral healthcare.
City leadership, healthcare executives and housing and service providers came together to discuss how chronically homeless Arizonans with behavioral health concerns can be housed. All agreed housing is healthcare; to live without stable housing makes all other health outcomes less successful. The conversation included discussion related to the 2015 closing of the men’s overflow shelter – an ancillary building that helped house homeless individuals at Central Arizona Shelter Service’s campus. The building was closed by Maricopa County officials in 2015 due to safety concerns. Some 300 individuals used the shelter daily.
It is estimated there are more than 2000 adult individuals who are homeless in Maricopa County. The wait list for housing at the Human Service Campus is more than 6,000 people who have accessed some homeless service in the last 90 days.
The leaders in the room discussed new strategies for sharing data, collaboration of services and partnership in housing chronically homeless individuals with behavioral health concerns. AHCCCS is committed as a partner in this process, spending more than $25 million annually on housing for Arizona’s vulnerable.