A judge ruled Wednesday that the city of Phoenix must permanently remove the city’s largest homeless encampment by Nov. 4.
City officials began closing down the homeless encampment, known as “The Zone,” in May under an order from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney, but have until April 2024 to complete the work. I was asking for a reprieve.
Justin Pearce, an attorney representing the city, said in July that some encampments on the edge of downtown Phoenix have been cleared since a judge declared the area a public nuisance, but others have been removed. He said zoning still needs to be addressed.
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Pearce added that the process will take time, including making sure the people living there can go somewhere else.
He said the city of Phoenix is developing a space with tents and portable toilet facilities nearby as an alternative, increasing the number of police officers working in the area and nearly tripling funding to combat homelessness. He said it is increasing.
Business owners and residents near the encampment call it a public nuisance that damages their property, litters and exposes them to crime.