I had a crappy day on Thursday.
As I was walking around my stomping ground of downtown Phoenix, my aloof teenage self was looking down at my phone and blasting Jason Aldean’s latest single in my headphones.
All of a sudden, outside the nearly all-concrete Chase Tower complex, I slipped and nearly fell.
I looked down and noticed that I had stepped in a pile of San Fransico gold while wearing my new suede Chelsea boots. For the less squeamish, I’m referring to human waste.
Unfortunately, I can reasonably assume that it was in fact human because of its location. More disturbingly, it’s not an uncommon sight downtown.
After shouting a very fitting four-letter expletive starting with “S,” I began the shuffle of shame to the nearest patch of grass.
I considered walking a few blocks down to Democrat Mayor Kate Gallego’s office in order to vent to some poor soul at the front desk as retribution, but I decided writing a petty article would fulfill my pseudo-Karen desires.
Still, it’s important to call out the fact that the homeless crisis (and the resulting defecation problem) is not confined to just Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.
According to the Phoenix Rescue Mission, a January 2020 estimate revealed that there were roughly 7,419 people living on the streets. That was an 11% increase from 2019, and that figure is likely much higher after the pandemic.
Those who are defecating on the street need to be in proper facilities where they can receive the mental health care and resources they need.
Phoenix residents have raised concerns numerous times in the past about this same issue. A petition circulated in February 2020 to address homeless-related problems, including feces, ABC 15 Phoenix reported.
“There are NO public toilets or waste facilities, so the people living on the streets, and in tents and vehicles in the area are using the streets, alleys, easements and driveways for their toilets,” the Madison Pioneers Coalition said in their letter to city council then.
“Trash is overflowing everywhere, creating a breeding ground for rats, with cases of Hepatitis A and B already recorded. Camp and cooking fires on the streets, parkways and easements have become the norm, posing a serious hazard for everyone.”
While Phoenix is certainly better off than San Fransico, the city needs to take charge to avoid going down that path.
A report from Fox 10 Phoenix on Jan. 5 brought light to the fact that homeless encampments have sprawled up along the I-17 and other areas near freeways, which will undoubtedly pose a burden on nearby communities.
None of this is compassionate, especially when we people are resorting to using the sidewalks as their toilets.
Phoenix, please get your you-know-what together and crack down on this crisis.
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