Phoenix creating structured campground as part of Zone homeless encampment cleanup

Jun 29, 2023, 12:15 PM | Updated: Jul 10, 2023, 6:36 am

PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix is creating a structured campground for people who are being cleared out of the Zone homeless encampment but refuse to move to an indoor shelter.

The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday approved a revocable license agreement with an option to purchase state-owned property on Jackson Street between 15th and 16th avenues.

The 4.2-acre site is just blocks from the Zone, the homeless encampment around the Human Services Campus at Madison and 12th avenues.

The plans call for the facility to open in phases, with restrooms, showers and 24-hour security. The property is already equipped with shade structures and a cooled indoor warehouse for daytime heat relief.

How is Phoenix clearing the Zone?

Under a court order to clean up the Zone, the city has been clearing the encampment one block at time by offering shelter to the people living there, cleaning up the debris and preventing anyone from camping on the cleared space.

Through three blocks of enhanced cleanup, 25 of the 121 people engaged, about 20%, have declined services, officials said during Wednesday’s council meeting.

Many of those who stay have just moved to another block in the Zone, which eventually will be completely off-limits to camping. Another 600 or so people are still living there.

What’s the purpose of the structured campground?

The structured campground is meant to provide a safe place for those who continue to refuse shelter but won’t be allowed to camp in the Zone after the city finishes clearing the area.

“Our plan would be to phase the opening as we continue efforts around the Human Services Campus so that when we do close down a block, if we do have individuals that aren’t ready to go to an indoor location, we have an alternative place that we can offer them … as an alternative to going and being on someone’s doorstep in front of someone’s business,” Rachel Milne, director of Phoenix’s Office of Homeless Solutions, told the council.

The structure campground is part of an ongoing effort by the city to serve its homeless population.

The city told KTAR News 92.3 FM it partnered to add nearly 600 shelter beds last year and 70 so far this year. Another 840 shelter and transitional beds are planned for 2023 and 2024.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect location for the structured campground and the Zone.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Mugshot of Amber Bernadette Fuaga of Maricopa, Arizona. She was arrested for alleged human smugglin...

Kevin Stone

Arizona deputy seriously injured while working to stop human smuggling suspect

The southern Arizona deputy who fell off a bridge last week during the pursuit of a human smuggling suspect faces "significant challenges" to his recovery.

30 minutes ago

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) leaves a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on Septem...

Kevin Stone

Republican Arizona congressman calls out own party after shutdown showdown

Republican U.S. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona had some sharp words for his own party Monday in the wake of the latest government funding showdown.

2 hours ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Brandon Gray

Phoenix Water Services Department offers incentives for water conservation

The Phoenix Water Services Department is introducing new financial incentives for residents to promote sustainable water use and conservation.

6 hours ago


Brandon Gray

HUD awards ASU $3M grant for Arizona Research Center for Housing Equity and Sustainability

Arizona State University was chosen as one of four Hispanic Servicing institutions to receive a grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development for research centers.

6 hours ago

An artist's rendering of The Parque, which is a proposed mixed-use project at the former CrackerJax...

Ron Davis/Phoenix Business Journal

Billion-dollar CrackerJax redevelopment project gets first approval in Scottsdale

The next billion-dollar development project in north Scottsdale took another step toward reality on Wednesday.

7 hours ago

Kathleen Allen lifts light weights during an exercise activity at the FSL ReCreación Center on Sep...

Angelina Steel/Cronkite News

A national caregiver shortage strains organizations and families across the Valley

The Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) ReCreación Center provides full-time care for Kathleen five days a week.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.


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.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Phoenix creating structured campground as part of Zone homeless encampment cleanup