Mayor Kate Gallego seeks solutions for downtown homeless encampment

Apr 4, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: Apr 27, 2023, 12:05 pm

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The homeless encampment known as “the Zone” in downtown Phoenix has become a growing issue and Mayor Kate Gallego is actively seeking solutions.

Gallego joined KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos & Chad Show to discuss what can be done for an issue that has seemingly only gotten worse.

“We, at the city of Phoenix, want to partner with every level of government to find solutions and get people housed,” Gallego said.

“We’ve been working with my colleagues to bring seven new investments online that will help take people out of the zone and put them into a better housing situation. These include partnerships with nonprofits like the Salvation Army, UMom and CBI that are in every part of Phoenix.”

Gallego added that part of the goal in relocating people is working on a solution that will bring them closer to their last place of residence prior to homelessness.

Last week, an Arizona federal judge ordered the city of Phoenix to find a solution for the Zone, highlighting several issues, including that the city was not enforcing numerous criminal statutes, it was allowing drug use, prostitution and violence and that the effect on business and property owners in the area was tremendous.

Gallego said that everyone in the Zone is treated the same, and that drug use and prostitution are illegal, but being homeless is not.

She mentioned that Phoenix was one of the only cities in the Valley to make investments toward the issue, including buying a hotel for veterans in need.

The mayor said that many people are coming over from other cities because Phoenix is the most well-equipped for help, but the demand is too high.

“I have asked the county and my fellow mayors, ‘Can you provide services for people who need shelter in your community so that they can have better healthier outcomes,'” Gallego said.

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Mayor Kate Gallego seeks solutions for downtown homeless encampment