Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo this week said the city is examining the concept of building a homeless campground. Mayor Sylvester Turner says his office has been considering various proposals.
“It is a very complicated subject matter. I’m going through the drafts now and finalizing our approach. Now, my hope is that next week we’ll lay out a more comprehensive plan.”
Austin has a camp called “The Cove” in the downtown area. San Antonio has “Haven for Hope,” which is a dormitory and camp.
“And the mayor said to me ‘even with Haven for Hope, the City of San Antonio still has people on our streets.’ And they spent over $100 million building Haven for Hope, and it costs $23 million a year to operate. We don’t have $100 million, we don’t have $23 million a year.”
There are many unofficial homeless camps under highway overpasses, intersections and parking lots, and they’ve been targeted for debris cleanups. However, crews do not remove items belonging to the homeless and no one is forced to leave.
Mayor Turner says Houston has done a good job of reducing the number of homeless from about 10,000 to about 4,000. He says there’s not an instant solution — it’s not as easy as his plan of fixing potholes by the next business day.