Homeless camp set up at start of COVID-19 pandemic set to close in June

A temporary housing site for local homeless people is closing.

The site, located at Jefferson and 9th Avenue, was set up in April 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, to keep people socially distant and seeping at least 15 feet apart.

"The pandemic has been a tremendous challenge to working with the homeless population," said Maricopa County Director of Human Services Bruce Liggitt. "The shelters had to reduce their capacity. We had fewer options for folks, and that is why the safe outdoor space became an option."

Liggitt says they have also been giving out masks and PPEs, and just last week, they vaccinated about 220 people.

"We're really pleased with the progress," said Liggitt. "All the nonprofits and the City of Phoenix trying to address homelessness during this really difficult time."

During the last year, more than 200 people would stay at the lot per night, Which Liggitt says had hand-washing stations and increased security.

The camp is set to close at the end of June because by then, it will be too hot for people to stay outside. County officials say they have another plan in place to keep these people safe and cool.

"We knew we needed to do something for the people there," said Liggitt.

Liggitt says they have already begun moving some of the people indoors. They will be working closely with the health services campus to not only find temporary housing for these people, but also to help them long term.

"So for most spots, they will be indoors, cooler, and we will work with them to try and come up with some permanent housing solutions," said Leggitt.

The county is also planning to work with the people here after they move to the hotels, and provide services to help them get back on their feet.

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