Amid record heat and facing a court ruling, Phoenix clears another block of ‘The Zone’

In the midst of an unprecedented heat wave, “The Block,” the biggest homeless settlement in Phoenix, remained unaffected by any significant problems on Wednesday.

Larry Clark, who said he has been unhoused in the Phoenix area for 23 years, spends most of his days outside his tent, trying to stay cool and keeping an eye on the street to see the cleanup being carried out on the block where he lives among many others, which can be a shade of life or death.

“The intense heat will be fatal,” Clark remarked.

The cleanup began at 7 a.M. When it was already 94 degrees. It reached 100 degrees by around 12:30, which is when it ended.

The cleanup started before the individuals, including those who might not have a place to stay, were accepted into other services or shelters, as mentioned by Kristin, a spokesperson for Couturier City. 25 people who were camping on the block were part of the group of 29 individuals. The cleanup took place on the east side of 9th Avenue, between Jefferson and Madison Streets.

The lawsuit against the city, filed by business owners and residents claiming that the public encampment is a nuisance, began in May and a court order clearing the Zone followed. It has been a busy week for Phoenix’s Office of Homeless Solutions.

Based on recent tallies conducted by the Human Services Campus, a coalition of organizations dedicated to addressing homelessness located at the heart of the encampment, it has been determined that there are still approximately 700 to 900 individuals residing in and around The Zone. The plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit are seeking completion of the project by the conclusion of summer, however, the city has requested an additional nine months. The duration required to accomplish the task and the decision of whether to continue compelling the city to evacuate the area will soon be determined by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney, who is overseeing the case.

At 10:30 a.M., Taylor Yves, a man named Clark, who had been sharing a tent with Yves and resisting requests by nonprofit workers and the city to pack up his belongings and move elsewhere, pulled up in patrol cars to block the cleanup that Phoenix Five had planned for Wednesday.

Three officers in Phoenix’s Downtown Operations Unit elucidated that the circumstances persuaded Taylor to depart. He expressed his intention to relocate to another area within The Zone and harbors doubts regarding the city’s strategy for resolving the encampment.

“If you can inform me I have the option to proceed to another block — what? That’s not resolving the issue,” he stated.

Another sanitation event is planned for Wednesday, July 19th, on 13th Avenue, spanning from Madison to Jefferson streets.

City officials stated that the city intends to consistently clear a single block on a biweekly to triweekly basis. The city is utilizing the extra space as a result of the recent transformation of a hotel into a shelter, which commenced operations on Monday. Additionally, the city is organizing consecutive cleanups for two weeks, according to Couturier.

If the city provided him with a hotel room, he would be willing to accept it, but he mentioned that he is not interested in staying at a large communal shelter. Cloyd Crow Jr., Who has been residing in a tent with his dog, Mercedes, for approximately seven months on the block that is scheduled for clearance, stated that he will most likely move to another area within The Zone.

“A few of us are selfish; a few of us are appreciative. But we all require shelter,” Crow stated.

Juliette Rihl covers the topic of housing insecurity and the problem of being homeless for The Arizona Republic. You can reach out to her at jrihl@arizonarepublic.Com or on Twitter @julietterihl.

Helen Rummel serves as a Pulliam Fellow for The Arizona Republic. She can be contacted at hrummel@gannett.Com or on Twitter @helenrummel.

The Arizona Community Foundation provides support for the coverage of housing insecurity on azcentral.Com and in The Arizona Republic through a grant.