Theme: Reality Focused, Results Driven
In response to increased requests to address blight associated with persons living unsheltered, often taking the form of a homeless encampment, the City of Phoenix created a coordinated program, PHX C.A.R.E.S (Community, Action, Response, Engagement Services). The program is a collaboration between heavily impacted departments including Human Services, Neighborhood Services, Public Works, Parks, Street Transportation, Police and the Prosecutor's Office.
Launched in November 2017, the goal of PHX C.A.R.E.S. is to connect individuals experiencing homelessness with appropriate services and to reduce the impact of homelessness on Phoenix neighborhoods. PHX C.A.R.E.S. is a one-stop customer service team that responds to concerns about persons living unsheltered and/or associated blight and can be reached by phone or the City’s PHX at Your Service (PAYS) online system. Requests for services and related information are documented and shared amongst departments in a single, electronic platform. An outreach team is dispatched to engage and provide services to those experiencing homelessness. Outreach teams respond 7 days a week from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Simultaneously, the City begins working with the ownership of the property in question to resolve blighting conditions. If individuals decline services and remain at a location without the permission of the owner, the City will begin enforcement measures. A multi-disciplinary team works together to develop the most appropriate solution for each individual case. Alternatives include social services and enhanced sentencing.
The PHX C.A.R.E.S. program is innovative because of the high levels of collaboration it has fostered among city departments and its direct impact to the residents and neighborhoods of Phoenix.