Phoenix to appeal judge’s ruling requiring The Zone homeless cleanup
Apr 28, 2023, 5:43 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2023, 2:02 pm
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PHOENIX — Phoenix is asking a judge for a stay on an injunction while it appeals the case to clean up the homeless encampment known as The Zone near downtown by July 10.
In the appeal, Phoenix acknowledged the homeless problem downtown and said it plans to improve conditions.
“The dramatic increase in homelessness has been a challenge for the city (and indeed the state and entire nation) and requires urgent action to address,” city attorneys said in the appeal.
“The question, in this case, has never been whether more needs to be done but rather the appropriateness of the relief sought by the plaintiffs, and now ordered by this court.”
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.
Phoenix, in December, developed city-wide cleanup procedures that comply with the constitutional rights of the unsheltered while protecting health and safety.
Although the city admits more needs to be done, it argues that simply uprooting hundreds of people from “their property” is not simple to get done before the July 10 deadline.
“This is problematic because deciding how to spend taxpayers’ money, deliver services and create new infrastructure for public housing is a legislative, not judicial, function,” Phoenix said in the appeal.
“Additionally, the Order intrudes into local law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion in what appears to be an order to take mandatory enforcement action — ignoring any analysis of the facts on the ground and ordering sweeping relief in its stead.”