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PHOENIX -- Just like the TV show "Gilligan's Island," it was a "three-hour tour," except there was nothing funny about this ride.

Mayors and city council members from Phoenix, Tempe, El Mirage, Carefree, Chandler and Goodyear boarded a bus in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday for a tour of a human service center and three newly constructed or upgraded low income housing projects.

In addition, they also got an update from various groups on the efforts to end chronic homelessness in the Valley.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell was part of the group. He believes that attention needs to be drawn to efforts by cities to deal with the homelessness issue.

"We do what we can to end homelessness. I think our communities will be better for that," said Mitchell. "It will also help the environment in which we all live and how we care for one another. It's a positive way that we can continue to improve our communities."

Mitchell said Tempe is doing a lot of work on the problem.

"Right out of our general fund, we put $1 million into our human services," said Mitchell. "We work the nonprofit Tempe Community Council, and we are very committed to offering services to those who are less fortunate."

The bus tour was the latest effort by the Partnership to End Chronic Homelessness, which is a partnership between Valley cities, Maricopa County and the Valley of the Sun United Way.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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