North Central Phoenix community grapples with homelessness problem

- Homeless camps are back in a part of North Central Phoenix, and people living nearby are not happy.

It's been an ongoing problem, an ongoing problem that residents in this area claim has led to a spike in  crimes, especially property crimes, an increase in trash, safety issues, drug problems. Officials with the City of Phoenix said they are launching a new program that will deal with this issue.

It's also an issue that residents in the area say they are fed up with.

"You drive by, there's four or five shopping carts. They have blankets, pillows. They are setting up homes there," said Gina Sanderson. She said the area of 19th Avenue and Northern, near a new light rail stop, has seen more homeless flood into the neighborhood.

Sanderson said they set up encampments in washes, behind businesses, in alleys, playground, and across from schools. Jeff Tabanico lives in the area, across from a middle school.

"I cant walk around at night because I don't feel safe," said Tabanico. "My baby and I cant walk around at night, because I have homeless people everywhere."

One homeless person, who was only identified as "Joseph", said he understands why people complain.

"There's people that leave needles and don't clean up after themselves, and that's not cool," said Joseph.

Sanderson had words for those who may accuse her of being heartless towards the homeless.

Send them to your house and your home, and see how you feel about it after a a while!" said Sanderson. "Have your things taken from your home, your backyard, your garage. Have your children talked to and followed going down the street, and let's see what your opinion would be, because that's what's happening here!"

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