Glendale addressing concerns over downtown homelessness

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by Jason Volentine

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonvolentine

azfamily.com

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 25 at 11:18 AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The homeless population in downtown Glendale has been cause for concern among business owners, as of late.

On Tuesday, Glendale police issued a report card on efforts to assuage fears and solve the problems.

Business owners said they've seen a noticeable increase in homeless people living downtown the past six months.

Some have blamed the problem on faith-based groups that feed the homeless in Bonsall Park, but others have seen the issue as something police needed to address.

After prodding from business owners in recent weeks, the Glendale Police Department stepped up enforcement and outreach in areas with heavy homeless populations.

"We're probably always going to have homeless people, but from what I heard today the city's doing everything it can to resolve the problem," said Robert Hubbard, owner of Zola Bell's Vintage Emporium.

Hubbard said during the height of the homeless increase, he found two homeless men sleeping on his fire escape.

He believes police have been proactive in cutting down on the homeless population. Increased patrols in recent weeks have netted 24 arrests with many of those for urban camping and other often related crimes, such as theft and drugs. But not everybody's on board with the efforts to boot the homeless.

"What problem is that going to solve? All they're going to do is give me a fine or put me in jail. And who's going to pay for that? The taxpayers," said Elpidio Cano, who described himself as a friend of the homeless people in Bonsall Park.

Glendale police said the increased enforcement, which includes outreach to help homeless people seek resources like substance-abuse treatment, will continue.

Businesses said they have noticed a reduced homeless population thanks to police efforts.

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