Frequently Searched

‘The Zone’ Turned Our Lives Upside Down. This New Bill Will Bring Us Justice

February 12, 2024

For over thirty years, we were able to successfully run our business, Old Station Sub Shop off Jefferson Street in Phoenix, and serve our community without fearing for our customers, our employees, our livelihood, or our own safety.

That all changed the day the first tent came up in “The Zone.” And it’s why we’re begging lawmakers to pass HCR2023/SCR1006, sponsored by House Speaker Ben Toma and Senate President Warren Petersen: so that business owners like us can receive just compensation from a government whose failure to safeguard our rights has turned our lives upside down.

A homeless individual lit a fire, causing damage to the sub shop, pictured above. Joe and Debbie Faillace believe the fire was started in an attempt to burn down the building.

We’re Joe and Debbie Faillace, and we’ve owned and operated Old Station Sub Shop—just a half mile from the Arizona State Capitol—for nearly four decades. We have had the privilege to serve thousands of people over the years, including many state legislators. We have also been fortunate to have created many lifelong friendships with our customers and our neighboring businesses and individuals living in the area, including homeless individuals seeking services at Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) and the Human Services Campus.

Joe and Debbie Faillace, pictured above, are the owners of Old Station Sub Shop.

But due to the city of Phoenix creating and maintaining the nuisance that was “The Zone”—a massive homeless encampment of more than 1,000 people at its height—we had no clue what to expect when we would drive into work every morning. Many days we would arrive to find our shop (located in the heart of The Zone) broken into and vandalized, people passed out or overdosed on our patio, urine and feces scattered across our parking lot and entryway.

Phoenix’s homeless Zone is pictured above next to Old Station Sub Shop.

We feared that we would never be able to get out of this nightmare situation. We have had to pay for a security system to protect our business, and we have spent countless dollars on repairs after break-ins and vandalism, in addition to paying to recover many items, including inventory, that have been stolen from us over the years. On top of this, our property value has diminished to a point where it isn’t worth a fraction of what it appraised for several years ago, or what it would sell for if we lived a block further from “The Zone.”

This financial loss is nothing in comparison to the mental and emotional toll this ordeal has taken on us. Every day, we contemplate boarding up our business and leaving the community that we have called home for nearly 40 years. We have felt that there is no other option for us because of what the government has forced upon us.

Joe and Debbie Faillace discovered weapons, pictured above, that were left on their property by homeless individuals.

This is why we are asking Arizona lawmakers to pass HCR2023/SCR1006. Even after a court ordered the city of Phoenix to clean up The Zone, no one has compensated us for the loss in property value or the mitigation expenses our small business endured. All the while, we paid taxes for public health and safety services we did not receive. We now live in continual fear that the city will let another “Zone” pop up. If that happens, our business may very well not survive.

HCR2023/SCR1006 gives us hope that not only will the city of Phoenix not allow another “Zone” to happen, but that even it does, the government will have to compensate small businesses like ours for failing to protect our rights.

Joe & Debbie Faillace are the owners of Old Station Sub Shop in Phoenix.



More on this issue

Donate Now

Help all Americans live freer, happier lives. Join the Goldwater Institute as we defend and strengthen freedom in all 50 states.

Donate Now

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has been in the liberty business — defending and promoting freedom, and achieving more than 400 victories in all 50 states. Donate today to help support our mission.

We Protect Your Rights

Our attorneys defend individual rights and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Need Help? Submit a case.

Get Connected to Goldwater

Sign up for the latest news, event updates, and more.