Finding Solutions to the Phoenix homeless encampment known as ‘The Zone.’
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - ‘The Zone,’ the nickname given to the homeless encampment just west of downtown Phoenix has become one of the most talked-about issues facing the Valley of the Sun. But finding a solution to the growing encampment is complicated.
A superior court judge recently ordered the City of Phoenix to show evidence that it’s cleaning out the area by July 11. The city has started clearing up several blocks in phases while placing many unhoused people into shelters. City and non-profit crews have been working in stages, clearing smaller sections as shelter beds open. There are still some who refuse shelter or any assistance.
Nicole Crites spoke with community leaders to get a status check on the progress being made. Scott Hall, Deputy Director of the Office of Homeless Solutions for the City of Phoenix, joined our discussion. We also got a better understanding of the outreach steps that are being taken by non-profits in the area.
‘The Zone,’ like the Valley, has grown exponentially. The encampment encompasses an area between 7th Avenue and 16th Avenue and from Jefferson Street to the railroad tracks south of Jackson Street. At its peak, nearly 1,000 people lived in the encampment.
There have been countless police calls to the area, such as rampant drug use, a fetus found in the street, and someone being burned alive. Fire crews won’t even go in without a police escort. Business owners are frustrated. “We wanna be able to walk the street safely, drive down the street safely, and we just want a normal neighborhood,” said business owner Joseph Falachi.
Back in August 2022, Phoenix business owners sued the City of Phoenix to get them to clean it up. A Judge agreed with the owners and ordered the city to clean it up. The ACLU has sued to stop the cleanup, saying it violates basic human decency when there aren’t enough shelter beds as an alternative to living on the streets.
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