PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Activists marched outside Phoenix City Hall on Wednesday for the rights of the homeless to sleep and camp on the streets without the risk of getting thrown in jail.

Elizabeth Venable, who works for the Homeless Leadership Project, said police are ignoring a federal court ruling.

[WATCH: Activists for homeless protest Phoenix policy of arresting people sleeping in public]

Last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled cities can't arrest people for sleeping in public if there is no room available at a local shelter.

Police have arrested 260 people for violating the City's camping codes since September 2018, according to police records.

"To me, sleeping is not a real crime. Robbing somebody is a real crime, and preventing somebody from sleeping doesn't prevent somebody from robbing," Venable said.

According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, there are about 6,000 homeless people in Maricopa County with just over 2,000 living in Phoenix.

Amy Schwabenlender, the executive director of the Human Services Campus on Phoenix, said her shelter is full every night.

Every month, she estimates 500 people experiencing homelessness are turned away for lack of space at the facility.

"(Police) really are stuck between a rock and a hard place, in my opinion, that they're being responsive to community and neighbor requests, yet, there's no solution. We can't arrest ourselves out of homelessness," she said.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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(9) comments

Dean

Sidewalks are public rights of way. It is illegal to block public rights of way. Therefore people can be arrested for sleeping on sidewalks. Of course you socialist idiots think you should get everything for free even though you never paid a dime for anything.

Shredder

It's too hot to sleep outside in Phoenix at this time of year. All these folks need to migrate to San Diego, where they can enjoy cooler temperatures.

Nippers

I have often wondered why when April rolls in that they wouldn't scrape together enough cash to buy a bus ticket to anywhere in California to escape our summers. I know if I ever face the possibility of homelessness, I would buy a ticket to California or Oregon, etc., and at least get out of this heat, if it was the last thing I did. Or if I still had a car at that point, I would get it and drive over there before I ran out of funds completely. In fact, I know a guy who is semi-homeless. He has a pension that is enough to barely squeak by a living in a van. He has it all set up to live in his van. He made the decision that if he was going to be homeless anyways, he might as well be homeless in Hawaii, so he had his van shipped Hawaii, and he took a separate boat over to Hawaii. He got his van and is living in it. He supplements his meager pension with income from being a substitute teacher, and he now has enough to rent a room in someone's house. Pretty cool.

Amico

yeah the Arizona Senate call those people parasites

TRUMP supporter

If the dumbocracts wouldn't give free housing to the illegals, there would be enough housing to go around.

Amico

yeah the true Americans starve other Americans to dead I really hope you get a stroke so you're force to quit your job and ask for the disability so people like yourself can call you a parasite

TRUMP supporter

You need to be deported back to your home land.

Fritz

You sound like a caring person.

TRUMP supporter

If you didn't live with mommy and daddy, you would be one of the homeless people .

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