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City councilman proposing "controlled encampments" to deal with homeless crisis

homeless camp
Posted at 4:57 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 13:10:30-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Tom Mannell takes pride in his home and his yard, but he says a homeless camp bordering his backyard wall is a constant source of crime in the area.

“My neighbor John got burglarized when he was out of town,” said Mannel. “I was burglarized when I renovated this house.”

Councilman Steve Kozachik says camps like this one in the Arcadia Wash cannot be allowed, but controlled encampments away from residential areas could be a solution to a big problem in Tucson.

"The reality is we are seeing numbers of homelessness that we haven’t seen in the past,” said Kozachik.

Kozachik says controlled encampments could provide a safer place to sleep since there is not enough shelter space available. It would also allow the city to better provide services.

“If we set up the controlled encampment we know where to find the people, we can send service providers, and not chase them from alley to alley.”

He says he is going to keep pushing this idea despite the majority of city council being against it.

"I think the rest of the council simply does not like the optics, and they believe allowing an encampment to exist constitutes a failure. I have a different perspective. Squeezing the balloon and moving people around from camp-to-camp week to week is the failure.”

Mannel says he would support controlled encampments as long as they are not close to houses.

"I believe there are many other areas of Tucson where they could be setting up camp where they would not be disturbing neighbors by being in such close proximity,” he said.

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Brian Brennan is a Meteorologist and reporter for KGUN 9. Brian’s fascination with weather began as a kid in Arizona watching the intense thunderstorms during monsoon. Seeing ice fall from the sky (in the form of hail) onto the hot desert got him hooked. Brian also has a passion for telling people’s stories and reporting. He has covered major breaking news, court trials, Nellis Air Force Base, and has put himself at the center of many weather events. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brian by emailing brian.brennan@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.