Quality of Life in Downtown Tempe

The Tempe area has many individuals that are in need of services and we are lucky to have agencies that are working diligently to meet those needs.  Below is a list of agencies that can either provide services or will be able to refer the individuals to appropriate agencies.  The service list provided here is not exhaustive of the work that these agencies do, just a brief overview with a link to their sites.  In addition, this list does not include all agencies working in this field, however these agencies can refer individuals to many more specific resources that are available in the Valley.


HOPE Homeless Outreach Team - 480.350.8856 or 480.350.5844 -Kim_VanNimwegen@tempe.gov - WEBSITE

The HOPE team (Homeless Outreach Prevention Effort) provides one-on-one case management and connection to housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

  • Outreach to individuals on the street
  • Gateway to more advanced services
  • Housing referrals


Care 7 - 480.350.8004 - care7@tempe.gov - WEBSITE

Care 7 is City of Tempe program that provides a 24-hour crisis response team that handles a range of situations from traffic accidents to violent crime scenes.  Typically they are dispatched by the Fire or Police department or Safety Patrol.  They will arrive quickly and assess an individual's needs and direct them to services.  They can assist in getting food, shelter, clothing, etc.

  • Immediate Assessment of Needs
  • Temporary Shelter


Tempe Community Action Agency - 480.422.8922 - tcaa@tempeaction.org - WEBSITE

TCAA is a non profit dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness.  TCAA has a shelter program that ushers individuals through a guided program to get them housed and employed.  In addition, TCAA has a meal program and provides rental utility assistance to prevent homelessness.  

  • Food Pantry
  • Shelter Program
  • Rental/Utility Assistance


Salvation Army Tempe - 480.967.8649 - WEBSITE

The Salvation Army is located on University and Myrtle in Downtown Tempe.  The Salvation Army is a non-profit with branches around the globe.  This location provides worship services as well as many other programs.

  • Food Pantry
  • Water
  • Clothing
  • Referral to other programs


UMOM Youth Resource Center and Street Outreach Team - 480-868-7527 - WEBSITE

For youth ages 18-24. Free supportive services are available for young adults who are experiencing homelessness, including food, water, showers, hygiene and personal care items, and clothing. Case management, housing navigation, referrals to services, as well as the coordinated entry point for HUD housing programs such as Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing are also available. Free medical care through Phoenix Children's Hospital Health-mobile is available Mondays and Thursdays from 2:00 - 5:00 pm.

UMOM also provides emergency shelter for young people 12-17 in crisis and is a designated Safe Place to go for help. 24-hour youth hotline 602-841-5799.

The center is located at Tempe First United Methodist Church, 215 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281. Hours: Monday - Friday, 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm.


City of Tempe Non Emergency Line - 480.350.8311

Downtown Tempe Safety Patrol - 480.894.1800


Frequently Asked Questions

These are questions that have been asked by the community at various stakeholder meetings.  Should you have additional questions that you would like to be answered, please contact us and we will get back to you.  For more information about city code enforcement or crime prevention, contact Tempe Police Department Crime Prevention at 480.858.6330 and ask for the downtown crime prevention officer.


Q.        What are a merchant’s rights when removing a person from their business?

A.         Generally speaking, if a person in your private business is doing something illegal or causing harm to themselves or others, you should have grounds to ask them to leave.  There may be other reasons to trespass a person from your business. You should consult an attorney for legal advice and to create a policy that will work for your business.  


Q.        When is it appropriate to call 911 vs. the Non-Emergency services line?

A.         There are no hard and fast rules regarding this.  Keep in mind that when you call 911, the very first question you will be asked is “What is your emergency?”   It is best to call 911 anytime a crime is in progress, someone is in imminent danger, violence is being exhibited, there are threats of danger or threats to person or property.  If the crime is no longer happening then the non-emergency line will be better.  However, anytime you call the police for service, make sure to be specific in your description of the behavior occurring so you can best be served.


Q.        What are the current and future proposals through the City of Tempe aimed to aid the transient situation?

A.         The City of Tempe is determined to provide assistance to those in need.  The belief of the City of Tempe is that we are a compassionate community that is and will continue to take action to maintain safety and quality of life for all citizens and that everyone has the right to services and that everyone has the right to feel safe in their home, neighborhood and business.


Q.        It seems that the transient situation is less evident in other cities in the Valley and it seems to be getting worse.  Why is this?

A.         As mentioned above, Tempe is a very compassionate city.  In addition, the assets and amenities available within our city are attractive to everyone.  We have a very accessible downtown with many public transit options.  However, globally we are facing an incredible challenge with respect to hunger, homelessness and poverty.  See the 2016 State of Homelessness Report produced by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.    


Q.        Please describe the current available public restrooms and water fountains.

A.         Currently there are public restrooms at the Transit Center (5th/Forest) that are open 6am to 11pm daily (Double check hours) and information on water fountain locations and Hydration Stations in Tempe can be found HERE.  There are plans to add public restrooms as a component of the 5th Street Streetscape project that is currently underway.  See the Project Description HERE.


Q.        Is it illegal to panhandle?

A.         Panhandling, or asking for money, is not illegal.  But doing so aggressively could be.  The City code prohibits “Aggressive Solicitation” and can be found HERE.  The City code restricts where and how someone asks for money.  Generally it can’t be done in close proximity to banks, ATMs, business entrances, and bus stops, but the link above (City Code 24-115) spells out all components of the Code.


Q.        How do you approach someone in your store that you suspect of stealing?

A.         It is best if your company or business has a defined policy on dealing with theft.  You can work with the Crime Prevention team within the Tempe Police Department for assistance forming the policy.  In addition it is always good to consult your attorney.  Crime Prevention Unit can be reached at 480.858.6330.  However, anytime you suspect a crime is in progress, contact 911.


Q.        I’ve called the police, now what is the best thing to do while waiting for them to arrive?

A.         You can call Safety Patrol after calling the police and they can come to your business and provide an extra level of security while waiting.  There have been many instances where Safety Patrol has been able to follow someone after committing a crime and connect them to the police when they arrive on site.  Above all, keep yourself and your employees safe.  


Q.        What can private security do to have a greater impact on tenant safety?  

A.         Landlords should have a policy that addresses how to handle any issues that tenants might encounter.  Ask your landlord what their protocol is.  If you are a landlord and would like access to training opportunities, call the Crime Prevention unit (480.858.6330) of the Tempe Police Department.


Q.        As a property manager, can we submit an Authority to Arrest Trespass Letter that would cover our entire property?  

A.         Yes, as long as you have filed THIS FORM and included your entire property, persons can be warned from anywhere on the property, according to the state trespass code.  Trespassing is defined by State Statutes 13-1502, 13-1503 and 13-1504.  Find State Statutes HERE.  However, keep in mind that regardless of the letter on file, if a tenant informs police that an individual is OK to be on the property, the police will lose their ability to take action.  It is best to let all your tenants know that a letter has been filed and that they should comply with the police and your trespass policy.


Q.        What are the Trespass procedures now?

A.         If a business is open, it is up to the business to contact PD and identify the person who is trespassing.  If a business is closed, and the business has filed an AUTHORITY TO ARREST TRESPASS Letter, Tempe Police will enforce trespassing during patrols.  There are specific legal parameters officers have to follow that may not result in an arrest every single time.  Nonetheless, if the police aren’t called to (at minimum) provide someone a trespass warning, it limits enforcement options in the future.


Q.        How do we address the reasons that people become homeless?

A.         Homelessness and poverty are very complex challenges and there are no simple solutions.  People do not become homeless because of one or even a few causes.  In addition, it is possible that person found living on the streets may not be homeless.  See above for the area social service programs that are available in Tempe to aid individuals in need.


Q.        If I see someone in need, should I contact the social service agencies or does someone else do that?

A.         If you find an individual that is in need of service, you can contact our Safety Patrol team and they will determine which agency is best to approach.  If you would prefer to contact an agency directly, the HOPE Outreach team is a great place to start.


Q.        Is loitering illegal in Tempe?

A.         The technical answer is that loitering becomes trespassing after a responsible party for the property asks a person to leave and they refuse.  Criminal Loitering was a state law which essentially made it illegal for someone to be on private property and ask for money.  This law was overturned by Arizona Supreme Court as unconstitutional (asking for money is free speech) and the State then created an Aggressive Solicitation law which is referenced above.  Most people will use the word loitering to mean someone who stays in a single place with no particular reason or purpose for being here.  That act in itself is not a crime.  If that act is done on private property, it is up to the responsible person of that property to ask that person to leave if they do not want that type of behavior to occur.  Refusal to leave would then become trespassing. It is helpful to the police department to enforce trespassing if proper signage and an Authority to Arrest Trespass Letter is on file.  


Q.        Regarding the ordinance that prohibits sitting/lying on the sidewalks, who enforces it and what are the repercussions for those who break the ordinance?  

A.         The No Sitting/Lying Down on sidewalks code is HERE for the specifics in the ordinance.  The police are the only enforcement agency that can issue citations.  If a person is sitting/lying on the sidewalk, they are first informed of the code and asked to stand or sit on a bench.  After warnings are given, if the person continues, a citation can be issued.  The first citation is a civil violation and results in a fine and a subsequent offense can be a misdemeanor.


Q.        What exactly is Urban Camping?

A.         Urban Camping is a City Code (23-90) and the definition can be found HERE.


Q.        What is public vs. private property in Downtown Tempe?

A.         You can find property ownership for any specific property through Assessor’s office. Simply zoom into the map and data will be available for each parcel.  Map can be found HERE.  There are some locations in the downtown that are private property with a “right of way” easement for public passage (such as 6th Street west of Mill Avenue) but enforcement practices would be the same for other public thoroughfares.


Q.        I have seens signs posted in businesses that describe a “Right to Refuse Service”.  Should these be posted and when are they effective?

A.         Posting signs and acting on claims of this nature should be discussed with your attorney so that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities as a business owner.  


Q.        Does the Tempe Police Department offer classes to train the staff of bars and restaurants?  

A.         Yes, the Crime Prevention Unit (480.858.6330) can assist businesses with crime prevention trainings such as burglary tips, liquor laws, personal/business safety and other trainings.  


Q.        What is the Safety Patrol and when should I call them?

A.         Safety Patrol is a program funded by the Downtown Tempe Authority.  The program employs individuals to be present in downtown Tempe during the day seven days a week to provide additional security and serve as a direct contact to the Tempe Police Department.  Safety Patrol is able to contact social service agencies and also they can provide a sense of safety for your staff.  If a crime is underway, contact 911.  However, if someone is making your staff uncomfortable and NOT committing a crime, you can contact Safety Patrol to be an additional presence at 480.894.1800.  On many occasions, merchants have contacted safety patrol after calling the police and Safety Patrol has kept a visual on a suspect until they are apprehended by police.  


Q.        What are the hours and deployment of the Tempe Bike Squad?

A.         There is always an officer on duty for calls (whether they’re on a bike or in a car). The actual schedule varies throughout a given week, depending on special events, employee leave, training, etc.  Additionally there is greater coverage on weekend evenings than less busy times.  


Q.        What is the Mission Campaign and how can my business participate?

A.         The Mission Campaign is a fundraising effort to raise dollars and awareness to support the agencies that are directly impacting those in need in Downtown Tempe.  The campaign launched in July of 2016 with a goal of $100,000.  Details surrounding the campaign can be found HERE.  Businesses can participate by holding special events, raising funds, making donations, asking their patrons for support, collecting loose change from their guests and staff.  An additional component of the campaign is the Mission Meters, which are located around Downtown Tempe.  100% of the funds raised go to the agencies, and nothing is retained by Downtown Tempe Authority.


Q.        When can get we get more questions answered in person?  

A.         Downtown Tempe Authority will work with the Tempe Police Department and the social service agencies to offer quarterly opportunities for stakeholders to get training and become more informed with respect to specific services that are available.  Upcoming trainings for the next 12 months are scheduled for the following days/times.  All are Mondays at 2pm in the Oasis Room at Sun Devil Marketplace.  


                        October 16, 2017 - 2pm

                        January 22, 2018 - 2pm

                        April 16, 2018 - 2pm

                        July 16, 2018 - 2pm

                        October 15, 2018 - 2pm




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