Homeless discovered camping out on Valley roofs - CBS 5 - KPHO

Homeless discovered camping out on Valley roofs

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GLENDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

From a distance Bonsall Park near 59th Avenue and Bethany Home Road looks like a nice place to spend the day. But a closer look reveals a more unsettling picture.

Thursday our cameras captured dozens of homeless taking shade under the park's trees. Neighbors said after dark that number skyrockets.

"I see between 100 and 200 homeless living in between this park and the park across the street," said Pablo Stuart.

Stuart has lived in the area for 13 years and said this is the worst he's ever seen it. Stuart told CBS 5 he's noticed people banding together.

"You see that group out there behind the tree over there? They're Native Americans. The Caucasians usually take the corner by the bathroom. The black folks are on the other side," said Stuart.

It seems if you're not in with one of the groups, you're out.

Last month Glendale police met with business owners to discuss an influx of transients making themselves at home in downtown. That's where we learned homeless people had been discovered camping out on some of the business's roofs.

Roy Bryan shelled out about $1,000 for repairs.

"We're constantly patching up places where they've broken through the foam," said Bryan.

The city of Glendale has since trimmed the trees near Bryan's building so folks can't climb on the roof.

Homeless advocate Serah Blain spent a month living on the streets of Phoenix last summer to raise money for the Madison Street Veterans Association.

She said strict urban camping laws across the Valley make it difficult for transients.

"I did end up in a clique and it operates much like a family. It doesn't surprise me that people would be making trades or financial exchanges for having a safe place to stay," said Blain.

Blain believes the problem has become more visible because there aren't many places for the homeless to go.

"If we could create better spaces for people to be without criminalizing every aspect of the homeless experience, I think we'd have safer communities in general," said Blain.

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