The Show on KJZZ

Listen live weekdays at 9 a.m.

Phoenix starts issuing notices to vacate 'The Zone'

By Jill Ryan
Published: Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 2:13pm

Audio icon Download mp3 (1.16 MB)

tents at
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Tents at "The Zone" homeless encampment in downtown Phoenix in 2022.

After a recent court ruling, people living on the streets — in an area called “the Zone” in downtown Phoenix — will have to start moving. 

The city says the “enhanced cleaning” will begin May 10, and those who lived there will not be allowed back.

The city says it’s begun issuing notices of the impending cleanup and cutoff of certain blocks. The director of the city’s Office of Homeless Solutions told KJZZ’s The Show last week that there are too many people to move, but they are exploring options like creating a “safe outdoor space.”

Austin Davis with AZ HUGS for the Houseless criticizes the plan, and thinks the hundreds of people living in the Zone will just scatter.

“It is not moral, I don’t think, to be clearing camps because there’s nowhere for people to go, but it’s complicated," Davis said.

The Zone includes several blocks near the Human Services Campus and other organizations that help the unhoused. But a judge found the Zone has disrupted nearby businesses and homes, damaging some people’s livelihoods. The city had asked to halt the court's decision while they appealed the case. That motion was denied.

Homelessness in Maricopa County has increased more than 70% since 2017.