More cleanup underway at 'The Zone' in downtown Phoenix

A second round of cleanup was underway on Jan. 4 in the downtown Phoenix homeless encampment known as "The Zone," following a federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU where a judge put restrictions on how the city conducts sweeps and handles personal property.

Arthur is among the hundreds who live on the streets of Phoenix, more specifically the area of 12th Avenue between Madison and Jefferson Streets. He says he's glad to be getting help.

"I think they're doing a great job, I mean, it's a slow start," he said. "We're just trying to make it. Jobs are scarce, but they're out here. The main thing is us doing our part."

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the City of Phoenix, Human Services Campus and Community Bridges (CBI) got to work.

"Waste and garbage accumulates – it can cause health and safety concerns," said Scott Hall, deputy director for the Office of Homeless Solutions for the City of Phoenix. "As stuff accumulates, [it] starts blocking [the] right of way and sidewalks. We want to start mitigating that, but ultimately what we wanna do is offer services to people and the engagement opportunity. We have out here during the cleanup is great."

Hall says on Dec. 16 during Phase 1 of cleanup, 33 people who were contacted accepted services. Hall says most are moving forward in their plan.

"We will debrief after this and talk about steps, while we also continue to add resources," he said. "The city has added over 500 beds this year – we plan on adding over 700 beds in [the] coming year, so as we create more shelter capacity, we continue to work on placing people, while also trying to create housing options for people move on to." 

After cleanup is complete, everyone will be able to return to the area, but if they're interested in seeking a shelter option, staff will be able to help transport them to an available indoor location.

MORE: Phoenix City Council votes to transform shipping containers into shelters as way to combat homelessness

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More cleanup was underway on Jan. 4 in the downtown Phoenix homeless encampment known as "The Zone."