ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix officials ask judge for more time in clearing downtown camp of homeless people

Jul 11, 2023, 6:25 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm

FILE - A large homeless encampment is shown in Phoenix, on Aug. 5, 2020. The city of Phoenix is sch...

FILE - A large homeless encampment is shown in Phoenix, on Aug. 5, 2020. The city of Phoenix is scheduled go to court Monday, July 10, 2023, to prove it has met a deadline to clear a large homeless encampment, an action that has drawn pushback from civil rights advocates. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix city officials said Tuesday they have been slowly and steadily clearing hundreds of people from a downtown encampment of homeless people called “The Zone,” and they asked a judge for more time to clear out the remaining hundreds still living there.

About a year ago, as many as 1,000 people lived in the tent city that exploded in size during the COVID-19 pandemic. City officials say up to 300 people have since left the site under efforts launched in late 2022 to get them into shelters, or into temporary or permanent housing. Area shelters are typically full.

Representing Phoenix, attorney Justin Pierce told Judge Scott Blaney that much progress has been made since March, when the court ordered Phoenix to lessen the public nuisance the encampment created.

Deputy City Manager Gina Montes testified that Phoenix has now identified a property for a structured camping site with bathrooms and showers for those without housing, which it hopes to open by summer’s end.

Attorneys for area business owners and residents said the city is taking too long and is not doing enough.

Blaney said he would issue a decision within 60 days and asked both sides to file their findings and conclusions with the court on Aug. 11.

This civil suit is one of two facing Phoenix.

Like several other major cities, Phoenix has been challenged to balance the concerns of businesses and homeowners with the rights of homeless people. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2019 that homeless people cannot be criminalized for sleeping outside if no alternatives exist.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona argued in a federal lawsuit that the city is violating the constitutional rights of unhoused people by slowly clearing the area. However, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow declined the ACLU’s request in May to declare Phoenix in contempt of a ruling he issued in December and said he would not bar the city from further cleanups at the encampment site pending another hearing.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

A Pennsylvania woman hiking with her husband and young daughters died on a trail in Sedona. (Castle...

KTAR.com

Pennsylvania mom hiking with family dies on Sedona trail

A Pennsylvania woman hiking with her husband and young daughters died on a trail in Sedona, authorities said Monday.

46 minutes ago

A Phoenix man was indicted by a federal grand jury for illegal possession of a firearm under indict...

KTAR.com

20-year-old Phoenix man indicted for trafficking drugs, illegal firearm possession

A Phoenix man was indicted by a federal grand jury for illegal possessing a firearm under indictment and the intent to distribute fentanyl.

56 minutes ago

A massive renovation of the Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale is complete after more than 18 mo...

KTAR.com

Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale completes renovation to 25-year-old facility

A massive renovation of the Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale is complete after more than 18 months of construction.

1 hour ago

Exterior view of Expertec in Gilbert. Expertec, a Canadian vehicle upfitting company, established i...

KTAR.com

Canadian vehicle upfitting company acquires Gilbert business to establish 1st US location

Expertec, a Canadian vehicle upfitting company, recently acquired a Phoenix-area business to establish its first U.S. location.

1 hour ago

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to wipe out all unfunded pension debt fo...

KTAR.com

Maricopa County votes to wipe out unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last week to wipe out all unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement employees.

9 hours ago

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona. (P...

KTAR.com

Woman rescued 36 hours after car crashes 200 feet down embankment in Arizona

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona, authorities said Monday.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Phoenix officials ask judge for more time in clearing downtown camp of homeless people