Concerns over homeless camp in downtown Phoenix

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Each Wednesday, around 8 a.m., the same squad of Phoenix police, street workers, and County inmates strive to clear and clean the block where the homeless camp is. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Each Wednesday, around 8 a.m., the same squad of Phoenix police, street workers, and County inmates strive to clear and clean the block where the homeless camp is. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The homeless, who police say they have a good relationship with, grab what they can, put it in a bag or in their carts and leave the block with the “cleaning crew” comes through. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The homeless, who police say they have a good relationship with, grab what they can, put it in a bag or in their carts and leave the block with the “cleaning crew” comes through. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Even after grabbing what they can, the homeless leave behind a mess. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Even after grabbing what they can, the homeless leave behind a mess. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The police have a group of officers dedicated to patrolling this homeless camp area. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The police have a group of officers dedicated to patrolling this homeless camp area. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The situation on Ninth Avenue and Jackson Street is the City of Phoenix’s way of managing a problem, that doesn’t yet have a solution.

On Jackson Street, you’ll find several industrial-type businesses and a campus of three help centers for the homeless: Andre House, The Casa Center for Positive Social Change and St. Vincent de Paul.

Two of those three shelters house the homeless overnight, averaging about 600 people each night.

Outside, the problem overflows on Jackson Street. Police estimate that on any given night, you’ll find another “couple hundred” homeless people setting up camp along the street.

Each day, trash donations from good Samaritans pile up, littering the street, a sight no business owner wants to share the block with.

Each Wednesday, around 8 a.m., the same squad of Phoenix police, street workers and County inmates strive to clear and clean the block.

The homeless, who police say they have a good relationship with, grab what they can, put it in a bag or in their carts and leave the block when the “cleaning crew” comes through.

Even after grabbing what they can, the homeless leave behind a mess that looks like it was created by a garbage truck that drove down the street with the back hatch open. Each week, police find everything from clothes to food to human waste.

We witnessed police picking up several needles.

The police have a group of officers dedicated to patrolling this homeless camp area. The officers know most of the characters by name. While on patrol, they are mainly looking for the drug dealers who prey on this area and the homeless. They say the homeless are rather peaceful and don’t give them much problem.

As for the business owners, it is hard to look at every day when you are going into your job, which feels like it is the middle of a trash dump.

"There’s a bit of a urine odor out here. I’d call it homelessness condoned by the City of Phoenix," said Paul Wolfehagen, who owns a nearby demolition business.

A police spokesperson said homelessness isn't a crime and officers can't "arrest their way" out of the problem.

The City of Phoenix said the Phoenix Cares outreach program, which encourages the homeless to accept services, has been out to the area several times and has met with several groups to start the process of coming up with a long-term solution.

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