[Hpn] Residents protest downtown Phoenix homeless campus

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
Fri, 22 Jun 2001 12:56:30 -0400


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-------Forwarded article-------

Friday, June 22, 2001
The Arizona Republic
[Phoenix, Arizona]
Valley & State section
Residents protest downtown Phoenix homeless campus

By Mike McCloy


Downtown Phoenix is a logical site to some Valley leaders for a $20 million 
campus for the homeless.

Social service agencies are located nearby. Vacant buildings provide a place 
to bed down for the night.

Selling the idea to downtown residents and government-mall planners is going 
to be tough, however.

Residents near the homeless shelter at 12th Avenue and Madison Street 
areproposing that Maricopa County take its campus concept and stick it . . . 
elsewhere.

They made their case to the Government Mall Commission on Wednesday.

"We were promised no more shelters," area resident Ethel Lane said. "We are 
tired of bolting our houses and watching people urinate in the street. It's 
time now to use scattered sites."

Tom Knapp, chairman of the commission that helps determine city zoning 
between downtown and the state Capitol, adjourned the meeting without 
deciding whether to endorse the county proposal.

County officials and Phoenix Community Alliance, a coalition of business 
leaders, looked at other locations and decided to build the "gateway" campus 
in the area of the Central Arizona Shelter Services property because any 
other location would attract neighborhood opposition but not necessarily 
homeless people.

"In every city, this is the area where homeless congregate," said Paul 
Winslow, architect for the county project.

Centrally located social agencies provide food, shelter and medical care.

County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox said she would return to the Government 
Mall Commission later this summer with specifics on funding and services 
available for people referred from the gateway campus.

Winslow said the plan to turn the aging shelter into a reception and 
referral center would solve problems of loitering and crime. Under the 
county concept, homeless people would be fed, treated medically and housed 
only long enough to be sent to services elsewhere.

"We will transition people to those programs when and if they exist," 
cautioned Rich Marshall, county human services director. "The biggest gap is 
long-term treatment. The demand is probably tenfold of what the supply is."

Neighbors complained that hundreds of homeless people would be backed up in 
the referral center awaiting help and would attract trouble. They noted that 
the campus would expand the current shelter property from one city block to 
four or five.

But Marshall said 20 blocks are home to an estimated 1,000 homeless people 
who roam among the scattered charity dining halls, welfare offices, sleeping 
areas and day-labor pickup points.

"It's unsafe," he said. "It's uncontrollable."

The gateway campus would have specific entrances and exits, with a shaded 
area where occupants could watch television while they wait, Winslow said.

A police substation would provide security.

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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA


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