In any city, an increase in the local homeless population requires long-term answers. Shelters and social services can do little more than provide temporary solutions for a large, diverse homeless population. Those with behavioral, mental, violence and substance-abuse problems bear an especially heavy cross, unable to seek refuge in homeless shelters and eventually gain their footing.
Phoenix’s ban on homeless people sleeping on the streets pushed hundreds of homeless people onto the streets seeking nighttime refuge in April. When local business owners complained of urine, feces and trash from homeless people camping on sidewalks and vacant lots, Phoenix police cracked down harder on the ban, worsening the condition of many.