Barber cutting hair for free for homeless in downtown may have to move locations

After living on the streets for some time, Roger Lopez decided to become a Texas State licensed barber.

Once a month, he heads downtown where many members of the homeless community attend a weekly church service to clip hair for free. But the kind act many have come to appreciate may be in jeopardy after he was told he could be trespassing.

Read Barber gives free shaves and haircuts for homeless men in Downtown Austin

He's known to many in Downtown Austin as "Roger the Barber."

“I do it because I want to pay it forward. I believe like George if he wanted to, as soon as he got his haircut right now he could go apply at a job and it wouldn’t judge him based off his appearance. He's clean, well groomed, and without even knowing him on paper you look at his appearance, he could do the job, you know?”  Lopez has been cutting hair for a few months and it's become so popular he had to bring in some help.

Two more jumped on board to help him cut hair.

But last month, he said he got some bad news from someone with the City of Austin.

“He said it's basically private property, so I would need a permit to be out here doing this type of thing,” Lopez said he may have to move locations. “I spoke with TxDOT on the phone and we talked about some technicalities. One of them was there is a good chance I could get a fine or citation."

"It is technically considered trespassing,” he said.

FOX 7 reached out to TxDOT who owns the 7th Street Bridge.

Department officials said they are researching whether Lopez would need a permit to continue.

“Everything is regulated you always have to answer to someone, but sometimes there's those little exceptions and my hope is that this would be one of them,” Lopez said. Lopez said he doesn’t like taking chances, but clippers and scissors in hand, he will keep cutting hair under the bridge until he’s told otherwise.

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