Cleanup of "The Zone" near downtown Phoenix officially begins Wednesday.
"The Zone" is a seven-block-long, five-block-wide homeless encampment located just west of the downtown area. As many as 1,000 people lived there at any one time.
Wednesday is the first day of the City of Phoenix’s coordinated plan to close off the area block by block.
Many homeless residents set up their tents near a center that provides food, water and other services. Advocates noted the proximity of these services, especially given Phoenix's brutal summers.
SEE MORE: Report finds connection between fast food work and homelessness
The number of people living in the homeless encampment already appears to have declined significantly following an order by a judge earlier this year to remove the encampment.
In March, Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney ordered the City of Phoenix to remove the encampment and enforce city and state laws against public camping, pollution, drug abuse and violence.
Officials with the city's Office of Homeless Solutions previously said it had been doing outreach in the area, offering services to help the homeless get off the streets in advance of Wednesday's deadline.
A Superior Court judge has given the city until July 10 to clean up "The Zone." Phoenix intends to file an appeal asking for more time.
This story was originally published by Scripps News Phoenix on ABC15.com
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com