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More than $200M in new money to be used to address homelessness in AZ

More than $200 million from two different Arizona funds will be allocated to communities ready to address homelessness through housing, supportive services and programs. 

About $150 million is from the new state budget. That’s more than double its previous allocation.

From a separate fund, $20 million has been released and divided up between six Arizona cities and one county. One of the cities is Tucson, and it's using a  Housing First approach to address homelessness. Housing First methods and policies are research-backed and are nationally considered the best approach to decreasing homelessness. 

State Housing Director Joan Serviss says the reason only six Arizona cities and one county got the money was because their plans to address unsheltered homelessness were ready first. 

"Recognizing the urgency, we really wanted to focus on quick occupancy housing solutions," Serviss said.

An additional $40 million will be made available later this year.  

Overall  homelessness continues to increase in Maricopa County — which encompasses some of Arizona's largest cities — but unsheltered homelessness fell for the first time in recent years. 

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Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.