(CBSDFW.COM) – The statewide homeless camping ban is now one step closer to becoming law.
House Bill 1925 was approved by the Texas House earlier this month, and, now, the Senate has amended it to include a ban on cities using public parks for temporary camps. It would not allow those who break the law to be arrested unless the situation is a public safety threat.READ MORE: Texas Secretary Of State's Office Announces Full Forensic Audit Of 2020 General Election in Four Texas Counties
The bill will now go back to the House and if the House accepts the amendments, it will head to Gov. Gregg Abbott. On Friday, Abbott showed support on Twitter, saying, in part, “One step closer to my desk for signing! Thank you.”
If this becomes law, people would not be allowed to camp in a public places, like under highways, without authorization and violations could result in a fine up to $500.
“The reality is this is completely impractical,” OurCalling CEO Wayne Walker said.
His non-profit, Our Calling, helps the homeless. He said this ban would directly impact the homeless who’d have nowhere to go. He said right now there are 10,000 homeless people living in Dallas, with just 2,000 shelter beds available.READ MORE: Feds Make New Recommendations To Texas To Prevent Deadly Power Outages From Happening Again
“The problem is there’s not enough shelter space,” he said. “Today, we had seven shelter beds that we could fill and we filled them up within minutes. So if you’re going to make it illegal for them to camp, the same people that sign those things also need to write checks on an alternative.”
Those in support, like a north Dallas homeowner, agree the homeless need an adequate place to to go but also believe this would help curb crime and drug use in their neighborhood off Royal and 75. The homeowner says the situation is dangerous and asked not to be identified.
“You’ll be in the drive-through and there’s one of those homeless individuals using a needle right by the trash can, this isn’t what we ask for as homeowners,” she said.
If signed into law, the camping ban would take effect Sept. 1.MORE NEWS: Sunnyvale Credits 'Small-Town Values' For Incredible Vaccination Rate
Walker said he is working on a project to expand housing for the homeless and is looking for volunteers. He asked those interested to go to the non-profit’s website to learn more.