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Phoenix considers private property program to address trash, debris that result from homelessness

Phoenix is working on a pilot program to help businesses dealing with ongoing trash and debris as a result of homelessness.

The early focus is on Hatcher Road in Sunnyslope and just outside the Human Services Campus often referred to as “the Zone,” where hundreds of tents are set up between Ninth and 13th avenues south of Jefferson Street.

After public pressure from businesses, the city expanded street clean-ups, and now it’s exploring a pilot program to help private property owners disproportionately impacted. Neighborhood Services Director Spencer Self said early ideas include providing dumpsters and cleaning space between the curb and the private property line.

“There’s a lot that happens down there that we’re not always there to see or certainly experience from the city side, and so their feedback will be critical in developing this further,” he said during a December council subcommittee meeting.

Spencer said community feedback will be included in a pilot program proposal for subcommittee members to review in late winter.

A group of property owners near the Human Services Campus is suing Phoenix over the encampment alleging they’ve been irreparably harmed because the city concentrates unsheltered people in the area and doesn’t enforce laws on loitering, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.