Homelessness is not a crime, but it is a rising problem across the state of Arizona—even in Goodyear. Due to increasing concerns over the issue of homelessness, the city is finding ways to keep our community safe while providing much-needed resources to those individuals in need.
The Goodyear Police Department has developed the Homeless Outreach Team (H.O.T.). The team focuses on a proactive approach by making direct contact with those living on the streets. They’ve created a database of homeless individuals, and the locations where camps are set up. If necessary, officers will make arrests for trespassing violations, outstanding warrants, drug activity or other crimes.
Since September 2018, when H.O.T. was established, the team has successfully connected approximately 50 individuals with services, including housing and mental health support, in an effort to get them off the streets. Goodyear officers have also made approximately 50 arrests so far.
The team is finding ways to educate residents and businesses on what they can do to help with homelessness. Many people feel compassion but aren’t sure what role they can play. Unfortunately, many homeless people are dealing with bigger issues, such as mental illness and addiction, which keep them in the vicious cycle of homelessness.
The Goodyear Police Department advises the well-intentioned public not to give money to the homeless, but instead, to support the efforts of non-profit organizations who are well-equipped and trained to help. Those organizations include: Phoenix Rescue Mission; Agua Fria Clothing and Food Bank; Angels on Patrol; A New Leaf Shelter; Lutheran Social Services of the West Valley; and Community Bridges.
In other words, give real change rather than spare change.