What do those experiencing homelessness in downtown Phoenix need?

Jun 21, 2023, 4:05 AM | Updated: 6:01 am

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Rescue Mission, File)...

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Rescue Mission, File)

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Rescue Mission, File)

PHOENIX — For a local gallery owner in downtown Phoenix, his journey into becoming friends with those experiencing homelessness within the Zone developed overtime.

Joel Coplin moved his business Gallery 119 into a local building in 2018 by Madison Street and 11th Avenue. When he first moved into his new site, he said people did not have tents. Instead, they would sleep in front of the building, roll up in the morning and return at night.

“But now, since the advent of ‘everybody’s got a tent’ and they add onto their tents and make them pretty nice facilities, there’s no way to park and they’re cooking. There’s no way you can have people come look at the exhibition gallery,” Coplin said.

But that didn’t stop Coplin from lending a helping hand.

“I have friends that I’ve helped that have come to stay with me while they’re waiting for their housing voucher. As long as a year I put people up and they finally get their housing voucher and then they can move in,” Coplin said.

“But it takes such a long time. That’s why CASS has become so huge and everything takes forever. It’s so much better to have smaller, more efficient, targeted shelters scattered throughout the metropolitan community rather than one giant thing.”

His best advice for anyone looking to help the homeless is to support the financial agencies that assist with connecting the them to critical services.

“(Do not) come down here and give out sandwiches and to give out potato chips and Ho Hos and Ding Dongs. People get three meals a day here,” Coplin said.

“We don’t need people coming down and giving out clothes, there’s clothes everywhere.”

Despite the defecation, heat and encampments, Coplin chooses to find inspiration and to make a change.

“There’s two side to it. I am a painter. I’m an artist. What I see on the street is just nothing but pure fodder for painting, so I’m still alright that way,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Chandler woman accused of abusing over 50 special needs dogs...

Activists played key role in arrest of Chandler woman accused of abusing special needs dogs

The Chandler Police Department arrested an Arizona woman Friday on suspicions of animal cruelty, officials said.

8 hours ago

In this image taken from video, Niko, a pet squirrel, stands on the shoulder of Yeison in their ten...

Associated Press

Venezuelan man and his pet squirrel complete journey to U.S. border

A 23-year-old Venezuela man is preparing to say goodbye to a pet squirrel he says he brought from his home country on a journey to Mexico.

10 hours ago

Evening commuters head west toward downtown Phoenix. Local transportation leaders are proposing a $...

Valley commuters can win prizes during Rideshare Month in October

Valley Metro is asking commuters to go the extra mile - by, for example, carpooling or taking transit - during Rideshare Month this October.

12 hours ago

Chandler police vehicle...

55 dogs removed from home in Chandler, owner arrested

The Arizona Humane Society removed and took custody of 55 neglected dogs from a home in Chandler on Saturday, according to the Chandler Police Department.

14 hours ago

Stock photo of a road closed sign. Southbound Interstate 17 was closed in the north Valley on Thurs...

Interstate 17 southbound lanes reopen after being closed near Camp Verde

The southbound lanes of Interstate 17 are closed south of Camp Verde, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

15 hours ago

Sundance Park in Buckeye....

Expansion of Sundance Park in Buckeye completed, celebrated with 3 days of events

The completion of Sundance Park Phase II in Buckeye was showcased to the public with three days of events earlier this month.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.

What do those experiencing homelessness in downtown Phoenix need?