Here’s what Phoenix says it’s doing about ‘Zone’ homeless encampment
Apr 21, 2023, 2:02 PM | Updated: Apr 27, 2023, 11:27 am
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PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix on Friday released details about how it will address the downtown homeless encampment known as the Zone, which is the subject of a court order.
The Zone is the tent-filled area around the Human Services Campus, a collaboration of partner organizations that provide services to people experiencing homelessness at 12th Avenue and Madison Street.
Much of Phoenix’s unsheltered population is concentrated in the Zone, and the city has been accused of ignoring its responsibility to maintain the area and enforce laws there.
“The area around the Human Services Campus (HSC) is one of our top priorities,” Rachel Milne, director of Phoenix’s Office of Homeless Solutions, said in a press release Friday.
“Accelerating existing plans is a strategic move designed to meet the needs not only of those experiencing homelessness, but also the business owners impacted by the large increases in people camping in the area.”
On March 23, the judge in a lawsuit filed on behalf of area residents and business owners ordered the city to devise a plan to clean up the Zone and carry it out as soon as possible.
Phoenix’s action plan includes new shelter space, enhanced cleaning and relocation options.
“The city recognizes that this is a big task. There are roughly 900 people camping outside the HSC every night,” Milne said.
“We’ve had offers of assistance from our nonprofit partners, philanthropic groups State of Arizona, Maricopa County, other municipalities. The outpouring of support has been tremendous.”
The Office of Homeless Solutions recently launched a data dashboard that tracks emergency shelter, street outreach and rapid rehousing progress.
“We want the community to be able to see the results of our investments and the number of people we are helping connect with the right resources to end their homelessness,” Milne said.