Phoenix's Homeless Veteran Problem Not Solved, Local Homeless Advocates Say

Despite the headlines, not everyone believes Phoenix has housed every homeless veteran in the city.

It's a typical Monday morning for Joe Simek, a veterans advocate at the Justa Center, a day program for homeless seniors in downtown Phoenix.

He stops filling a plastic bag with toiletries for a homeless veteran to chat about his background and his job. Simek is retired Army, served for 27 years -- in Germany, Vietnam, Desert Storm. He worked at the Pentagon. His mantra was always, "Serve the soldier," something he practices to this day.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at