MESA, Ariz. — A co-founder of a homeless veterans’ camp near Loop 202 and the Salt River said Tuesday that the population will move to a new private property in Chandler by the end of this week.
The Vets, who have lived at the camp near Mesa on Maricopa County land for the past year, were ordered to leave by the Arizona Department of Transportation last week, according to the Arizona Republic (a branch of USA today). Nearly 30 people, half of them veterans, who have been living at “Camp Alpha” since early December, when they were forced to relocate a few hundred feet off Salt River Reservation land.
Lewis Arthur, co-founder of “Camp Alpha” and similar camps across Arizona, said most of those living there intend to relocate to a 15-acre vacant parcel in north Chandler that is privately owned by a veteran. Arthur declined to identify the owner.
ADOT officials confirmed the removal noticelast Friday afternoon, due to a dead body being found near the riverbank face down in shallow water, not far from the camp. ADOT officials also said the situation at the camp had become unsafe, and that state representatives were expected at the camp this week to help people with transition from the site.
Arthur said the deceased man was someone who had helped organize homeless camps with him. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said the cause of death was under investigation.
Arthur expects about 17 of the people from the current camp to move to the new Chandler site.