Judge Orders Phoenix to Permanently Clear ‘The Zone’ by Nov. 4

Judge Orders Phoenix to Permanently Clear 'The Zone' by Nov. 4

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 21: An aerial view of people gathered near a homeless encampment in the afternoon heat on July 21, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By Associated Press

September 21, 2023

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge ruled Wednesday that Phoenix must permanently clear the city’s largest homeless encampment by Nov. 4.

City officials began shutting down the homeless encampment known as “The Zone” in May under an order by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney, but they had asked to be given until April 2024 to complete the job.

Justin Pierce, a lawyer representing the city, said in July that parts of the encampment on the edge of downtown Phoenix have been cleared since a judge declared the area to be a public nuisance, but other blocks still need to be addressed.

Pierce added that the process takes time, including making sure those who live there have somewhere else to go.

He said Phoenix is developing a space nearby with tents and temporary restroom facilities as an alternative, has increased the number of police officers working in the area and has nearly tripled its funding on confronting issues of homelessness.

Business owners and residents near the encampment have called it a public nuisance that subjects their properties to damage, litter, and crime.

READ MORE: Phoenix Police Pin Homelessness Advocate to Pavement Amid Heatwave

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