Every month, Ed Bartkowski goes down the steps that lead from his house into the Pima Wash. With his shoes crunching leaves underneath him, hes having to be more vigilant, making sure he doesn’t step on trash that homeless people are leaving behind.

Ever since the summer ended, hes been noticing more homeless in the wash who leave their belongings in various parts of it.

There could be needles left over or biohazard materials, Bartkowski said.

The Pima County Regional Flood Control District said theyre seeing more homeless outside of Tucson who could be moving north because of increased efforts to remove homeless camps in Tucson.

Leslie Paige is Bartkowski’s neighbor who has also been seeing a rise in homeless people who leave trash in the wash.

The animals here could eat it or become sickened by it, she said.

Since part of Bartkowskis property is in the wash, the Pima County Sheriffs Department said its his responsibility to clean it up, so he hired someone to clean the wash.

However, Bartkowski and Paige are also worried about the homeless people burning the trash in the wash. Evidence of it can be seen in a few places in the wash, whether its through the ashes they leave behind or the trees they burn.

There was a fire that the homeless started down here and it took two fire brigades to put the fire out, Bartkowski said.

The neighbors said the PCSD sent an outreach team to relocate three encampments in the past two weeks.

The PCSD said if there is an issue with homeless people on a private property and the owner did not permit them to be there, they will send out a deputy so that way they can address it. They say they could face a criminal trespass violation charge.

They also said residents can report all their issues in the County through a website.

While walking through the wash, the neighbors in the Foothills were just hoping County leaders could do more to try and prevent homelessness.

To have a long term plan to make sure that homelessness does not continue to develop to the extent that it is today, Bartkowski said. They need to find out what the root causes are and try to find ways to mitigate people going into homelessness. They dont want to be homeless.