AUSTIN, Texas - Jose Padierna has lived in Roy G. Gurrero Park for one year. It doesn’t bother him a bit, in fact, he prefers it.
"If you live in town, you live in apartments, people don't leave you alone. You get in trouble one way or another," he said.
He said he enjoys the peace he gets living off the grid. Sometimes, he might get a visit from his children.
"If they got money, they don't remember me. When they get broke and don't have money, they come looking for their old man," he said jokingly.
He is one of a number of people living in the park. He wants the public to understand, not all people experiencing homelessness are criminals. Padierna lives feet away from a larger campsite at the park.
Recently, a person who wants to remain anonymous, shared photos with FOX 7 saying they were concerned about what they have seen over the past few days.
"While I want everyone to have a home, that is not super pleasant for people who want to utilize those public parks," said an anonymous jogger.
"Maybe the city needs to find other ways to find a home for them, something better than just what is available," said the jogger.
We reached city council member Sabino "Pio" Renteria who presides over this area. He said in a statement:
"My office is in regular contact with staff from all relevant departments to ensure that progress on long-term housing solutions for the Guerrero Park encampments remains a top priority for the City. While that work is underway, Parks and Recreation staff have increased efforts to notify campers that camping in the park remains illegal and additional resources have been allocated by Austin Resource Recovery for trash collection and cleanup work around the encampments that will be coming online in the coming days. APD has surged patrols in the area, and the City has hired additional onsite, 7-day per week, security for the park to help address the public safety concerns. While significant issues remain, staff are working diligently to expand clean-up and safety operations and we will continue to monitor those efforts closely."