Residents raise concerns over homeless encampment along Phoenix canal
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Many people lost their homes during the pandemic, intensifying the fight to end homelessness in the Valley. One neighborhood in Phoenix says one encampment is getting too close to home.
Frank Manda lives right on the other side of the canal near 35th Avenue and Dunlap. He says he’s been dealing with homeless people living right up against his fence for the past few weeks. “It’s a nightmare, if I’m being honest,” he said.
It’s not only affecting him; he says his neighbor is now too intimidated to step foot into her alley. “She has had me taking the garbage out for her because our trash cans are actually outside here, and to get to them, you have to walk through the encampment,” Manda said.
Scott Hall, interim deputy of homelessness programs, says the City of Phoenix has seen a 35-percent increase in homelessness over the past two years. “We obviously can’t get enough up fast enough, but we’re really trying to get the resources up to help these individuals that are out suffering on the streets,” he said. Hall says the community can file a report with Phoenix cares, the city’s system, to track and respond to homelessness issues.
“Obviously, I’m sympathetic to what they’re going through, but there’s got to be a better way than this. You know people live along the canal here, and you can’t just have an encampment 10 feet from your back fence,” Manda said. He added he even considered selling his home at one point but unfortunately doesn’t believe he’d get a return on his investment because of this encampment.
SRP owns the land the canal is on. To mitigate these issues, SRP says it works with the City of Phoenix and Phoenix Police through the city’s Community, Action, Response, Engagement, Service Program (PHX C.A.R.E.S.). This includes responding to complaints from community members, working with Phoenix Police to address any illegal activities, and working with PHX C.A.R.E.S. to seek solutions for those experiencing homelessness, addiction, or other health issues.
SRP patrols our canals daily and responds to customer and community concerns about the canals. The community should direct all concerns related to camping or encampments on SRP’s canals to the Security Operations Center at (602) 236-5305. In addition, the public should call 911 if they observe a crime or an emergency, are a victim of a crime or fear for their safety.
The following resources are available on the PHX C.A.R.E.S. website but here are the direct links:
- PHX C.A.R.E.S. How it Works: How It Works.pdf (phoenix.gov)
- Form to report to PHX C.A.R.E.S.- PHX C.A.R.E.S. · Customer Self-Service (dynamics365portals.us)
- Number to call PHX C.A.R.E.S. - 602-262-6251
- Resources for people experiencing homelessness: Regional Resources for People Experiencing Homelessness (azmag.gov)
- Resources to donate to help people experiencing homelessness: Donate — Healthy Giving Council (givesmartaz.org)
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