Texas Moves to Make Homeless Camping Class C Misdemeanor
The Texas House and Senate are both considering bills aimed at making homeless camping in public spaces a statewide Class C misdemeanor.
The Dallas Observer reports that HB 1925 and SB 987 would make it illegal for people to shelter in tents, sleeping bags, or any other covering besides certain clothes in public areas. Additionally, cities that attempted to curb or flat-out discourage enforcement of the law could lose access to funding and grants.
The authors of the bills doubtless have Austin in mind, where KTBC-TV reports there's ongoing debate about the City of Austin converting an unused hotel into a homeless shelter and resource center. Austin and state officials have sparred for months about whether or not to allow the city's homeless population to camp in public spaces, and the conversion of the hotel was proposed as a possible solution. However, some residents aren't happy with that plan.
In my opinion, this is horrible.
It's like homeless people are being penalized for being homeless.
I understand the standpoint of businesses not wanting the homeless in and around their establishment, but I am also asking lawmakers to use that same energy to provide resources for these same people.
Closer to home, our partners at News 10 report that the DOBEY Center in Waco is now open to homeless youth ages 18 to 24. The center isn't just a shelter - it also offers life skills courses and resources meant to help homeless young adults find employment and begin building a life.