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Hundreds Set To Count Maricopa County's Homeless Population

Hundreds of people will set out this morning to count Maricopa County's homeless population.

Their tally will be sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which compiles a report that’s given to Congress. Federal officials use the data to divvy up money for emergency shelters, transitional and long-term housing.

Maricopa County’s annual homeless count hovers around 6,000, said Anne Scott, human-services planner for the Maricopa Association of Governments, or MAG. The regional governing body receives about $25 million a year to fight homelessness.

“Part of that $25 million goes to permanent supportive housing, and then part of it goes to rapid re-housing, which is short-term-rental assistance that’s really designed to get people up on their feet,” Scott said.

Cities nationwide count their homeless populations every year at the end of January, Scott said. MAG has participated since 1999. 

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.