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Phoenix to Start Clearing Sprawling Downtown Homeless Encampment

Phoenix officials will begin clearing one of the nation’s largest homeless encampments this week in a downtown area known as the Zone, where neighbors and business owners have filed a lawsuit calling the tent community “a great humanitarian crisis” because of open drug use, violence and property damage.

The effort comes after a preliminary injunction in late March ordered Phoenix to clean up the area.

City officials said they plan to remove tents, block by block, starting on Wednesday. Outreach workers will first offer residents of the encampment other housing options, such as at homeless shelters or on vacant land that the city will designate for camping. Once the city clears a block, it will prevent people from returning to camp there.

Rachel Milne, director of the city’s Office of Homeless Solutions, said in a statement that her staff was “accelerating existing plans” but did not reference the court order.

Officials in Phoenix will begin clearing tents, block by block, starting on Wednesday.Credit...Todd Heisler/The New York Times


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