Phoenix restaurant owner says long ‘way to go’ following judge’s homeless encampment decision

Mar 29, 2023, 4:25 AM | Updated: 5:36 am

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Not long after an Arizona judge ordered the city of Phoenix to find a solution for the enlarging homeless encampment, a local restaurant owner who was part of the lawsuit said it could be a while before progress is seen.

The order was announced just over a week after Old Station Subs owner Joe Faillace was featured in a New York Times article that underscored the turmoil surrounding the homeless encampment centered around “the zone” in downtown Phoenix, residents and business owners.

A moment of happiness quickly shifted to reality setting in for Faillace and his wife Debbie, as more than three years have passed with little to no solutions on curbing the encampment many have said is destroying their neighborhood.

“We realize that we think we may have a way to go. We don’t know what the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona might do. We don’t know what the advocates might do or the churches and stuff like that,” Faillace told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show on Wednesday.

“So we’re a little leery. It’s been three years and six months so we’re hoping that at least some news is good news.”

Faillace, who has owned the sandwich shop for nearly four decades, said a rise in homelessness at the Zone began in November 2019 and only continues to intensify.

“Nobody has a clue what really is going on there. It is so depraved, so bad. It is their own little oasis,” Faillace said.

Monday’s court order said the Zone, which is located around the blocks south of Jefferson Street, between Ninth and 13th avenues, must be disbanded by July 10. A plan must also be put in place that will produce effective results for people living in the encampment and business and property owners.

The order noted that the city had allowed drug use, prostitution and violence in the area, causing a tremendous effect on business and property owners.

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Phoenix restaurant owner says long ‘way to go’ following judge’s homeless encampment decision