Town Hall on Homelessness

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Vitalyst is a $120 million public foundation focused on Arizona health policy, technical assistance for non-profits and strength-based community engagement. They are working on a variety of projects, including support for the Cover AZ Coalition, which is focused on helping people obtain affordable health insurance.

Suzanne Pfister joins us to take a look at where the state legislature is headed in solving the housing crisis, and where the Town Hall stands on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Homelessness.

“We have one of the highest eviction rates in the country, we have one of the highest rates of homelessness,” said Pfister. “We’ve seen 40-60% increases in housing costs and rental costs.”

This housing crisis drives people in need toward substance abuse and mental health issues, an interrelation observed by Pfister.

“You see that spiral go on where people are engaging in survival crimes in order to just get food and housing in one form or another,” said Pfister. Vitalyst hopes to get rid of this problem with its efforts in the community.

What is needed?

“Access. Our Medicaid program did special emphasis with 3,000 of its members, those on the seriously mentally ill spectrum, and with wrap around services they were able to reduce the costs by 5500 dollars per member per month for a total savings of 82 million dollars,” said Pfister.

Pfister also emphasized the need for flexibility in the legislature toward these housing efforts.

Where can we access more information?

If you want to know more about Town Hall’s efforts for improving housing crisis, you can visit Aztownhall.org

To learn more about Vitalyst and their mission, visit Vitalysthealth.org.

Suzanne Pfister

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