Homeless veterans group removed from Phoenix camp

Phoenix veterans forced to move homeless camp.

PHOENIX - A group of homeless veterans is being asked to leave their Phoenix camp, again. Just recently, the group of around 20 people received permission by a land owner to live on his property, but he didn't have permission to let anybody live on his property.

"They contacted the owner and they did get permission, and the owner thought he was doing something to help," said Riann Balch of the Phoenix Human Services Department.

The city had to step in after saying several people complained about the new "pop-up" neighborhood.

The city threatened fines for the owner of the land if he didn't have the group removed by the end of the day.

"Most people don't realize your land has to be zoned for people to live," Balch says.

Those fines can range anywhere from $100 to $2,500.

Officials from The American Legion National Headquarters just happened to be in Phoenix to hold a town hall meeting this week. Verna Jones is the executive director of that organization, which advocates for veteran needs.

She heard about the situation and stopped by to help.

"Nobody wants them in their backyards. Nobody wants them near their business, but everybody wanted them and adored them when they were at war," Jones said.

The City of Phoenix offered shelter in various forms to the men and women staying in this particular camp. At least eight veterans refused the offer and are now back on the streets.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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