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Phoenix could expand program to help property owners impacted by homelessness

A pilot program to help Phoenix property owners disproportionately affected by homelessness could become permanent. 

The program offers enhanced cleanups on public streets next to private properties. Between April and December, program administrator Lisa Huggins said they conducted nearly 70 cleanups, collecting more than 60 tons of trash.

“The cleanups include the contractor power washing the sides of buildings, sidewalks and dumpster enclosures, removing human waste and drug paraphernalia as well as applying deodorizer to help with any foul odors that emanate from the right of ways,” she said.

The program also provides help to people who’ve paid to have their own properties cleaned at least four times in a year. So far, the city’s supported 18 private property cleanups. 

Phoenix Neighborhood Services Director Spencer Self said cleaning one property can help others, “What I’m saying there is not that we’re, again, solving the issue, by any means, it does exist somewhere. However, it’s not necessarily impacting those who are in the immediate area where that individual property is.”

The department plans to ask the City Council to approve a permanent program to start July 1.

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