City leaders meet after complaints about camp for homeless veterans

FOX 10's Linda Williams reports.

- Camp Alpha has been on this street corner at 16th Avenue and Hatcher for at least six weeks.

The city of Phoenix says the encampment has actually moved from place to place and this is its third location.

Some have complained about the weapons, which are legal, we're told, and some other violations.

The city of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department has met with the organizers of Camp Alpha a few times. The city says the encampment simply cannot stay here.

Camp organizers say they are hoping this unique solution to homelessness for veterans can stay. They say they realize they're fighting stereotyping here as well.

"Those are complaints. That's the challenge we're up against. People in the neighborhood don't know what we're all about. They just see the encampment growing and wonder what's going on and they apply a negative connotation to homeless people and encampments," said Camp Alpha's Eric Smaltz.

"There will be a pushback of people asking why can't you just let them be. I don't want to speak to much about that because I'm not the enforcement.. to me, the reason we can't let it be is because there are rules that say it's not okay, it's not legal. There are many others that would say if we're going to let this be, why can't we have tents and camps on every vacant lot, corner, anyplace people would want to do that. I'm sure you or I would say wait, this out of control. That's how it gets out of control.. by not enforcing the laws that are written," said Moises Gallegos of the city of Phoenix's Human Services Department.

Camp Alpha organizers say they have been meeting with city of Phoenix officials and they are hoping to sway them to look at this as a new idea and a new way of dealing with an old problem.

The camp is there for now, but the ultimate plan for the city is to help relocated the people to somewhere legal.

Online: www.facebook.com/CampAlpha


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