City of Phoenix sees success with ‘The Zone’ clean-up; 80% of homeless accept shelter
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The City of Phoenix says their clean-up efforts of the infamous downtown homeless encampment known as “The Zone” have been more successful than they anticipated so far this year.
The city is engaging with people living here, going block by block and speaking with each person to get them shelter and other services to get them off the street. Officials say most people, about 80%, they talk with during these clean-up sessions accept help.
In April, a judge sided with local downtown businesses who filed a lawsuit against the city. In the case, they claimed their business suffered due to illegal activity, noise, and loitering from the homeless encampment. Ultimately, it was ruled a public nuisance, and the city was ordered to clean-up.
As time passed, two businesses near the area recently told Arizona’s Family they had noticed a significant improvement and were happy with the outcome.
“We’ve had six large-scale engagements near the campus. In those six blocks, we’ve engaged 209 individuals and offered every single one of those 209 individuals an alternative place to be, an indoor place to be and 167 of them have accepted that resource, whether it be a shelter or a treatment facility,” explained Rachel Milne, The director of City of Phoenix Office of Homeless Solutions.
“For the past couple weeks, those numbers have gone down significantly. But I think it’s important to note that the region as a whole, not just the area near the Human Services Campus, is seeing an increase in homelessness. So it’s not just that one area in town. If you look at the Maricopa Association of Governments data that they put out, on their inflow and outflow, you’ll see that more people are coming into the system than going out of the system, region-wide.”
The challenge now is that the overall number of homeless people has increased in the region this summer. It means more people are coming from all over the Valley to the human services campus to get help, straining already limited resources.
As of Wednesday, Phoenix has engaged six blocks and has 13 blocks left of clean-up.
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