City of San Marcos set to discuss homeless issue Tuesday

With the statewide homeless camping ban in effect, some cities are discussing what to do with their homeless population. 

The city of San Marcos is set to discuss these topics Tuesday during city council, including camping within city limits, panhandling, and the direction of police enforcement. 

A memo from the city’s director of public safety mentions issues they would like to be highlighted during the meeting, including large homeless encampments while within the city are on private property. There’s also concerns that if they act too aggressive too fast this may just relocate the homeless to other locations within the city.

The Texas Homeless Network said now is a delicate time when it comes to tackling the issue. 

"Criminalizing homelessness has never been a way to end homelessness. It has no effect in regards to homelessness or alleviating homelessness," said THN president Eric Samuels. "We would rather have communities expand their energies and efforts to ending homelessness and preventing people from falling into homelessness."

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 1925, which makes it illegal to camp in public spaces, and has sent a letter to counties and cities reminding them to enforce it.

Samuels said when it comes to enforcement, they’ve already seen cases in some communities like Austin where members of the homeless community move to possibly dangerous areas just to be out of sight. This is why they urge cities to think about a long-term solution.

"If they are behind the Greenbelt for example, if people can’t see them they have less access to help. They’re also further out from the agencies that can help them and emergency services that can provide help and in the unfortunate situation where they are around someone who is violent that help would come way too late," said Samuels.

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Austin police give update on camping ban enforcement
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