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Updated Nov 6, 2013 - 7:13 am

Estimate: 1 in 5 Phoenix homeless are veterans

PHOENIX -- About 1 in 5 homeless people on Phoenix streets are veterans.

"It's not right to have anybody who served this nation living on the streets," said Mike McQuaid with the Human Services Campus.

McQuaid's facility shelters about 1,100 people each day, many of whom are veterans.

McQuaid said he has one goal and believes it is within reach: "We will end chronic homelessness in Phoenix within the next 12 months," he said.

McQuaid said the strategy is no longer simply getting veterans off the street and into a shelter.

"The thinking used to be that you had to get the homeless veterans clean, sober, mentally stable before you got them into housing," he said. "Almost never did that happen in the shelter or on the streets.

"Now we're taking the individual and putting them into housing with support services wrapped around them and then 85 percent of the chronically homeless will stay in that housing."

A new Maricopa County website should help in achieving that goal.

"A lot of the time, the communication as to where there are resources and benefits along with housing and employment opportunities is lacking so this website should be a great tool to help the service providers and the veterans find the help they need," said McQuaid.

Phoenix has been singled out by the Obama Administration as a model for its work in cutting its number of homeless veterans.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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