Don't pass out food in the homeless encampment: City of Phoenix encourages 'healthy giving' to avoid waste – KPNX

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PHOENIX — This Thanksgiving there are hundreds of people across the city of Phoenix experiencing homelessness. The need is abundantly clear in the city’s largest encampment downtown, known as “The Zone.”
Donations are key, but it’s not just about what people are donating. It’s how people donate that can make a difference – for better or for worse.
“Every year there’s an influx of people with good hearts and big hearts that just want to help but what that creates is garbage and waste that gets put on the streets,” said Scott Hall, Deputy Director of Homeless Solutions for the City of Phoenix.  
Despite the city cleaning streets in “The Zone” three times a week, trash constantly builds up around the roughly 900 people living in the encampment this month.  And when people come out to provide services on their own, Scott says it can make things worse.
“When clothing just get dumped out people just go through it, it creates a lot of waste,” Hall shared. “We need to keep everyone safe and cleanliness is part of that.”
This Thanksgiving, Phoenix police and staff with the Human Services Campus and Healthy Giving Council drove through the encampment to discourage people from giving on their own. Instead, they asked those who want to share their time and goods to donate through other providers like CASS or Saint Vincent de Paul on the Human Services Campus. 
City and campus staff said there are three meals provided each day on campus that people experiencing homelessness can access.
“A lot of people have a good heart to give,” Hall noted. “It’s just how to give smart.”
The city recommends using the Healthy Giving Council as a resource for the best ways to give.
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