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Tucson homeless encampments dispute

<i></i><br/>Three organizations in Tucson have sued the city alleging
Lawrence, Nakia

Three organizations in Tucson have sued the city alleging

By Faith Abercrombie

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    TUCSON, Arizona (KGUN) — Three organizations in Tucson have sued the city alleging, they planned a homeless encampment sweep ahead of the gem show.

The lawsuit asks the court to prevent future sweeps and to prevent law enforcement from enforcing city ordinances that criminalize homelessness.

“We weren’t able to get the hearing and the injunction in time, it was pushed over. While that happened, the city continued—the city made the sweep and not just at Santa Rita, but in the general area,” said Zaira Livier, the Peoples Defense Initiative Executive Director.

Livier said the city is clearing homeless encampments to hide them from public view.

“It’s just this constant moving of people without actually addressing the issue,” said Livier.

When the lawsuit was first filed, the city responded with a statement that read in part:

“The allegation in the complaint is untrue… City enforcement actions are based on established protocols that prioritize enforcement based on the threat to public safety…”

The lawsuit states there are more houseless individuals than shelter beds.

KGUN 9 reached out to the city for an update on the lawsuit but they responded ‘no comment,’ as the litigation is ongoing.

The City of Tucson referred to their tier system showing their protocol online.

Livier said they hear different stories from unhoused residents.

“We’re hearing them being harassed by the police, being removed, being woken up in the middle of the night, being asked if they have warrants,” Livier said.

Livier said she believes the solution is building more shelter beds.

She said she hopes a hearing date is scheduled soon.

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