Homeless encampment causing concerns near upscale apartments in Downtown Phoenix

- It's not the view many people were expecting when they rented new apartments near 3rd Street and Roosevelt in Downtown Phoenix, as a homeless encampment recently sprung up.

The park-like area, which is the property of the City of Phoenix, was developed for the hundreds of residents of new upscale apartments in the area. They envisioned residents walking their dogs and meeting for coffee in the area.

Lately, however, the homeless have moved in, and residents aren't using this space. It's happened over the past couple of weeks. Over a dozen homeless people now camp out in the area, with cars zooming by and surrounded by upscale new apartment buildings. 

"We wish there was a better place for us to be," said a man who lives at the encampment, who is identified only as "Richard". "Unfortunately, anywhere else in Phoenix, every time we close our eyes, there's a cop there to wake us up to tell us we can't be there. We can't go to sleep. We can't lay out a pallet in order to do so."

On Tuesday, Phoenix Police officers who check daily for people with warrants arrested one of the men at the encampment. Richard, who did not want to show his face, said he has lived there with what he calls his "street family" for about two weeks.

"We are apologetic for being an eyesore, but right now, this is our safe haven," said Richard.

Gabriel Valencia lives on the same block in Downtown Phoenix, and said his apartment overlooks the growing encampment.

"I've been here seven months now, and it's just ongoing battle with them, and in last month, it's gotten worse," said Valencia.

Valencia said noise from the encampment is bothersome, and he worries about the safety of his family at night. He wanted the Downtown experience, and paid about $2,000 for his 2-bedroom apartment. 

"Never did I think paying that amount of money -- of course, we would get one or two homeless, that is expected, but to this extent, it's making me wish I didn't move down here now," said Valencia, who said the solution lies with the City of Phoenix, when it comes to this property, because they own it and can designate it a park and post "No Trespassing" signs, giving police the power to remove people from here.

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