The city of Phoenix has become a model for services for the chronically homeless and it’s an accomplishment Mayor Greg Stanton is excited to show off.

On Wednesday, Stanton hosted a bus tour for elected officials through different sites in Phoenix. Representatives from Tempe, Goodyear, El Mirage, Chandler and Carefree visited Phoenix’s Human Services Campus, Madison Pointe, Encanto Pointe and other housing dedicated to the chronically homeless.

Those on the tour were able to see places in Phoenix where homeless populations can go for resources, rehab programs and housing for veterans and their families.

“It’s an eye-opening experience for us to see what is out there for our vulnerable population,” said Wally Campbell of the city of Goodyear. “I was not aware of some of the facilities that the city of Phoenix has. I’m very impressed. They are really reaching out to the homeless… Phoenix is certainly to be commended for their outreach and for their perseverance in taking care of the homeless.”

Campbell said she was most impressed with the city’s Human Services Campus, which brings more than 60 agencies together to provide resources for people under one roof.

Mark Mitchell, mayor of Tempe, said he was impressed with Madison Pointe and Encanto Pointe, and is interested to see how they can bring similar campuses to Tempe.

“It was a great tour,” Mitchell said. “You see a lot of community partners working together to better the lives of people in our community. That’s remarkable. There are so many opportunities.”

Mitchell said Tempe is already doing a lot with Section 8 housing and working with United Way to find other ways to serve the homeless population, but that the tour exposed him to even more community partners.

Madison Pointe and Encanto Pointe are newly constructed residential units built through low-income housing tax credits. Madison Pointe serves families of homeless veterans while Encanto Pointe is permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless. Stanton said when Encanto Pointe was first suggested to the community there was some apprehension, but the building replaced a poorly-run trailer park and has become a neighborhood meeting place that the community is proud of.

“I think the message is that this is quality housing,” said Diana Devine, president and CEO of Native American Connections, which develops and operates affordable housing communities. “So many people are so afraid to have the political discussion about bringing affordable housing to the communities but when you see it, I think this is what changes that… There is a very humane, cost-effective, well-run way to serve chronically homeless in the community.”

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

“This is important work,” Stanton said. “We’re getting the job done. I know the things we are doing in our region are among the best in the country. Even so, we still have a long way to go.”

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