Reflections from the front lines serving people experiencing homelessness, living with conflicted emotions, days with less hours of light, and watching the Diamondbacks in the WORLD SERIES.
It's happening. The movement of unsheltered people around the Human Services Campus (HSC) has increased and will be complete on November 1st. I want to do my very best to share this as information and not solely my opinion.... we all have very mixed emotions about what is happening, the how, and the why.
The City of Phoenix in response to a court order will have cleared the area of campsites, temporary structures, posts and chains, pets, and people. Signs are posted notifying people that camping is not allowed. The sign states under the City of Phoenix logo: This area is closed to camping to abate a public nuisance. If you are in need of shelter or services, please visit the Brian Garcia Welcome Center at 206 S. 12th Avenue. The Welcome Center is the "front door" to the Human Services Campus.
The HSC Street Outreach team counted 247 unsheltered individuals early this Tuesday morning, while 900+ were sheltered inside of four spaces on the Campus. The last engagement activity is Wednesday morning which will lead to the full neighborhood being posted.
As this effort has sped up over the last two weeks, the neighborhood is eerily vacant of people. It takes a bit of effort for me to recall that in my first days, weeks and months of working at the Campus, there were also no tents. People were not building structures. They did sit, sleep, and linger on the sidewalks. At times the unsheltered count was in the 400s. The population appeared to be more transient, people passed through and away, and possibly back again at a later date.
With the three year pandemic, HSC's two year zoning case in that timeframe. With the increase in rents and evictions. With the health effects on individuals, the changes in employment, and the lack of wage increases to meet inflationary increases in the costs of living. With all of these dynamics the unsheltered number in the neighborhood grew to over 1,000 people at one point. [Read More...]