(NewsNation) — Rampant homelessness in Phoenix, Arizona, is impacting small businesses, who are struggling to stay afloat amid the homeless encampments.
Joe and Debbie Faillace, owners of a sandwich shop in downtown Phoenix, told NewsNation they no longer feel safe as the streets around their business turn into a “tent city.”
“You know, the shelter started letting people camp on our property, then it just happened and it exploded because the city has no control,” said Joe Faillace.
Phoenix police have deemed the area around the Faillace’s shop a hotspot for incidents, forcing the couple to put up a fence and hire security in order to stay open.
The Faillaces are now considering closing shop due to the rate of incidents, but are worried no one will buy property in that area. Phoenix police reported vacant office spaces in the area grew nearly four times from 2020 to 2022.
“I think that you would find throughout the country an endemic if not an epidemic of of homelessness related to economic issues as they affect small businesses in downtown areas, the issues that are impacting and even influencing cities are going to wash over and affect suburbs,” said historian Chet Orloff.
Arizona is facing one of the worst homelessness crises in the U.S., according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The December 2022 report shows while national numbers for homelessness remained mostly stable since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona saw a 23% jump in its homeless population.