TUCSON, Ariz. — A homeless camp in Tucson was broken up and cleaned out. TPD’s Homeless Outreach Team says they were able to offer some services, but they are not calling it a success story.
15 people were living in multiple tents off Fort Lowell Rd and Alvernon Way.
“Initially it started out as two camp sites and usually you’ll have a waterfall effect, once a few homeless individuals see some people camping a lot will join them,” said TPD Homeless Outreach Team Sgt. Jack Julsing.
Sgt. Julsing says homeless camps are nothing new in our community. They tracked 450 of them last year.
“Survival crimes is what I call it that they commit. “Using the bathroom because they don’t have a bathroom to use, littering because they don’t have a trash can, and trespassing because they don’t have somewhere to live so they are camping where they can find space,” he said.
TPD partnered with Housing and Community Development and other programs to offer services to the people at this camp. One man was given temporary shelter.
“Because of his age and his situation living out here he was at high risk to end up in a hospital,” said TPD Park Safety Team Officer Jennifer Hider. “So, through the team effort we were able to get him transported immediately that day to a COVID high risk shelter in midtown.”
Unfortunately, housing services wasn’t available for most of the people they contacted. Many of the people from the camp probably moved to a more out of sight place to sleep.
“Honestly they are probably in nearby washes and tunnels,” said Sgt. Julsing. “Even if they engage in services, it is not always readily available, the shelter capacity is limited because of COVID.”
Sgt. Julsing says his team is working to help people experiencing homelessness. Clearing camp sites might be necessary sometimes, but it's far from a solution.