Eviction Near For Fort Worth ‘Tent City’ Families

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – As wind chills drop into the teens, one community of homeless families in Fort Worth is worried they’ll soon be forced out of their makeshift “tent city”.

The encampment of 40-50 people is located off East Riverside and East Lancaster.

“We’ve got an air mattress a bunch of sleeping bags and heavy quilts that churches have donated to us.” Said one homeless man who goes by the nickname ‘Preacher’.

He has lived in the tent city about a month, along with his wife. The couple stay at the camp because spouses are not allowed to stay together at night shelters.

“There’s no other place we can go.” He said, “My wife has health problems and I’ve got to take care of her and they separate the males from the females.”

Although conditions aren’t ideal, the homeless at the camp keep warm using blankets, candles and small propane heaters.

“With candles and heaters and things of that nature, it’s definitely a home.” Said Ivan McCarthy, one of the first people at the camp, which has been there for about two years.

While they admit it isn’t safe to burn candles or use heating devices in tents, they believe it is better than the alternative.

Most of the items at the tent city are donated by church groups, including a kitchen complete with grills and coolers.

“They had nothing to cook on, no fuel, no heat,” said church organizer Rick Paredes, who discovered the camp in November, “and we knew winter was coming on.”

But the dozens of people living there will soon be forced to leave.

The tent city is set up on private land owned by Barnett Gathering LP, which is a subsidiary of XTO.

The encampment is against city code and Fort Worth officials have given the landowner ten days to comply or face fines.

“We have just been alerted to the situation and are looking into it,” said Jeff Neu or XTO.

Fort Worth’s homeless shelters have plenty of room to house the people but some refuse to go there stating the close quarters spread illness.

“The reason they’re here is they feel safer here,” Paredes said.

“Certain shelters only give you a couple days, McCarthy said, “after that you’re pretty much on your own.”

A city spokesperson said the church groups have the right intentions but are not necessarily helping in the right way because they are allowing the homeless to continue to break the law by staying on someone else’s land.

The encampment was much smaller before the church group started donating resources, according to city officials.

Fort Worth has a website, ahomewithhope.org, where those interested in helping with the homeless cause can partner with organizations that offer services to those in need.

  • Tom

    If most of us went onto public, or praivet land and pitched a tent and moved in, we too would soon be run off! Everyone has to obey the law, even if it causes them inconvenience! Let them move to a national or state park where they have to pay a fee to camp out! Better yet, let them find a way with God’s help and ours to find a way out of their situation.

    • Ivan McCarthy

      Thanks Uncle Tom

  • Stoshio

    I don’t understand why it is that some homeless people think because they have nothing, the law doesn’t apply to them. It’s ludicrous to think you can just plop down anywhere you want to and set up housekeeping. They need some education, job training or mental health assistance, not air mattresses and propane heaters. Those things don’t really help them get out of their situation.

    • Ivan McCarthy

      Stoshio-I don’t need any of the skull duggery positions you mentioned.People like you don’t deserve to breath you know what i mean.

  • Elmer

    There is no wind chill inside closed tents. Wind chill factor only applies to skin exposed to the wind.

    • Ivan McCarthy

      Your right Elmer why do they twist lies like they do?Thanks

  • Homeless

    Stoshio, heaven forbid you should ever find yourself without a roof over your head. Your ignorance is showing how little you understand the homeless problem.

    Hopefully your astonishing ignorance will not come back to haunt you someday.

  • norenttopay

    it’s nice not to pay rent or property taxes. “Thank you to people that trying to help them” This people are not going anywhere. You can take a cow to a river and made it drink. And this people is the same way.

    • Ivan McCarthy

      norenttopay-Number one there is so much property not being occupied nor has the intention to what do you care?

  • HeartsickInTheFort

    No one really ever ‘owns’ any land– It is God’s land to do with as He wishes. We cannot take it with us when we pass, but the kindness (or cruelty) we show to others will be attached to us when we go to meet our Maker.

    These people are ‘human beings’, unlike the heartless, money hungry corporations that weren’t going to use this land for anything more than harming our environment further.

    I believe these nice people living in Tent City are richer than some people will EVER be! You don’t own God’s land, He only allows you to stay there. Grow a heart! You get what you give in life!

    • Ivan McCarthy

      HeartsickIn TheFort-Thank you brother you know from day one thats who brung me there and my whole purpose was to help,share,give,and love people at my campsite and now that we were threatin out at least we left with dignity.Thank You – The Mayor of Tent City !

  • Carolyn Swinner

    I want to put forth a offer to take in as many of these individuals as possible I work at a foundation that normally takes in homeless veterans but these are people in need. Our country is based on people that are willing to give their lives so we can live as we do. It does not take much to give back just a little time and compassion. If you would like to get more infomation about our foundation please contact Linda or Carolyn at 254-580-9010

    • Ivan McCarthy

      Thank YOU Carolyn and Linda from the bottom of my heart .

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  • Stella Hodges

    I feel that with all the hotels and motels with empty rooms would donate just one room each to the homeless that that would get a lot of them into a warm place for just onr nite. someone should start an orginization that would let them stay. it could be organized in such a way that they would not be squatters. The poliece, church buses and private citizens could pick them up and get them there.

    • Ivan McCarthy

      Thank You very much Stella unfortunately this is not that kind of system they don’t care.God be with you

  • Donna

    Shame on this city !!! I will pray for your souls. These are God’s people…the poor…give them shelter… Remember one thing city of Ft.Worth & owners of this land; Be kind to strangers,you may be entertaining Angels…I feel very bad for all of you who have no compassion for these people….you will have to answer to Jesus Christ one day as to why you did not care…I pray for you all…God, please bless these people in tent city,if it is your will I pray you will watch over & protcet these poor souls that have nowhere else to go..I Christ’s name I pray..Amen

    • Ivan McCarthy

      Ms.Donna may the Spirit of the Most High rest upon you Thank You so much.

  • Susan

    Have a heart. The landowner should be able to let people stay on his property. It’s his property! But oh – it’s against the law to be kind. Some of our laws are absolutely ridiculous. Why should it be so much harder for humans to find a place to spend the night than it is for animals? Is it decreed by almighty God that we must worry about finances all the days of our lives? A great solution to this problem is to allow and even teach the homeless to build earth shelters. It would cost much less than the city hiring architects to build shelter for them. Check out the website calearth.org. The homeless could build simple one room dome homes on donated city land. If someone loses a job – they CAN”T afford a home that takes 30 years to pay off!!! Quit being so narrow minded and try to envision a new society – change the city building codes – don’t kick people who are down!!!!

    • Ivan McCarthy

      Halle Lu YAH to you all the way thank you very much Susan.You can reach me at 817 810 9797.May His Glorious Angels keep you and your family safe.

  • JWTX

    God Bless All The People Living In Tent Cities. God Please Bless Them Amen.

  • AAP

    We help all other nations …lets help ours also…we need better, or safer, or more homeless centers….you never no what could happen to you in your future…allmost every other street corner in thiis country has a God loving church on it…..let’s act like it….they still could use job trainning…better money skills and such….only for those who need it… but don’t remove them from their tents into the streets…that is no solution to this growing problem….

  • Ivan McCarthy

    AAP-This is the mayor of tent city I have alot of job skills just need oppurtunity in this discriminating country if you have any suggestions shoot.Im ready for whatever thanks alot!

  • HeartsickInTheFort

    God Bless You Ivan and Keep you Well! : )

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