- Skanska’s Capitol Tower Now Going Up, with Bank of America Confirmed as Anchor [Realty News Report; previously on Swamplot]
- Houston Home Sales Up 11.7% Year-Over-Year in March, Finds HAR [Houston Chronicle]
- The Profile of an Average Texas Homebuyer, According to Texas Association of Realtors [HBJ ($)]
- Airbnb To Collect the 6% State Hotel Occupancy Tax Starting May 1 [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot]
- Buc-ee’s Building What Its Hails as the Largest Car Wash in the World in Katy [HBJ]
- Houston City Council Bans Panhandling, Public Encampments for the Homeless [Houston Public Media; previously on Swamplot]
Photo of Jerry’s Artarama: Ruben S. via Swamplot Flickr Pool
Now there’s no excuse not to visit Katy!
Re: Homeless ban
How is this actually going to be enforced? According to the article(s) – first will be education, counseling, and warnings. Then citation tickets handed out, which the homeless can’t afford to pay. Lastly, they will arrest the homeless. The city is actually going to use jail space and court time for the homeless? Once the homeless gets releases from jail, are they not going to go right back onto the street corners?
So in reality, a single homeless person will (now) be in and out of jail just like career criminals? Is the city going to build “holding centers” for this?
So you are suggesting that we set up welcome stations for the vagrants/homeless at all the major intersections? Are you saying the proposed homeless camping area the city plans on building with health, counseling and work training services isn’t sufficient enough? Do you realize that they are not only a safety concern (for themselves and the general public) but decrease the property values of the areas they frequent or decrease the likelihood of neighborhood redevelopment? Should we not try to improve their lives and ours so they can beg where ever they like? Are you nuts?
I think this encampment ban is all just lip service. It would be nice if it were actually something they could accomplish tho…
The Houston Public Media story was written immediately after the vote and was not updated to include the backstory and full plan details. I live in the community impacted by the largest of the homeless camps, and I can promise you the situation is not as you describe. The anti-encampment and anti-panhandling ordinances are two pieces of the city’s new six-point plan to tackle chronic homelessness. The city has been offering housing to those under the bridges for more than nine months. Many have accepted the offer, while some have not for myriad reasons.
The other plan points are interesting, a combination of San Antonio and Austin’s plans. The city plans to buy parcels in each district and build canopy-covered sleeping areas that mimic overpasses –dubbed low-level shelters — thus giving those people who prefer tents as opposed to beds or apartments a place to live. It will also move them from the neighborhoods in which they are camping, which has caused a massive strain on resources and impact on residents’ lives. Daily EMS and police visits for overdoses, urinating and defecating in yards, burglaries and even dog poisonings have occurred from the more criminally-oreinted campers (not all are). The low-level shelters will have restroom facilities and onsite aid, as opposed to pulling first responders away from other duties that the current setup requires.
The citations will only be given after myriad verbal warnings, one written warning and an assessment from homeless coalition volunteers. Police are disallowed from making the determination on first approach. Imprisonment and citations are only to be used when someone refuses housing AND refuses the low-level shelters. Again, the low-level shelters are essentially mock highway overpasses anyway — just with bathrooms and volunteers who offer services when wanted.
It’s better than the situation impacting a handful of areas in the inner loop now. I sure hope you don’t think the situation — open sewage, trash, drug use, criminal activity (from some, not all) and lack of access to first aid — is good.
Panhandlers / campers won’t be taken in for unpaid citations unless they’re repeat offenders that are particularly confrontational with the cops. Even the cops understand it’s a waste of time and misallocation of taxpayer resources for this kind of stuff. It’s purpose is to give authorities the power they need to address the issues, not to start locking people up or create revenue generation.
Tremendous wright up! I wasn’t aware of those things. Thanks for taking the time to explain.
After reading Nate’s explanation, I have a fuller picture of the 6-point plan. But, I don’t necessarily agree with it.
City taxpayers will be paying for these low-level shelters, the restrooms and their upkeep, the case workers assigned to document all of this added bureaucracy, and the EMS units will still roll out if the situation is more than the onsite aid can provide. (Good odds that overdosing will still occur – and the EMS units will still have to come over.)
Yes, we would have to pay to lock them up but, since we will pay in any case, why not just go with the current infrastructure (city jail) and be done with it. Or, a one-way bus ticket to Missoula, Montana. Cheap, effective, and little paperwork.