CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Passage of the Blucher Park ordinance has fired up the conversation about the city's homeless issue.
But for those who supported the ordinance and run local shelters, including Mission 911 CEO Tony Reyes, the conversation about Corpus Christi’s homeless population is a perpetual one. He believes help is available for people sleeping at the park, if they want it.
“It is not safe out there,” he said. “You're sleeping, people rob you, kick on you -- the elements, the bugs; it's not a great place to be.”
Reyes has dedicated his life to helping the homeless, and for those that want help, Reyes believes the city's new homeless liaison will bring the resources of the reported 35 agencies that help Corpus Christi’s homeless population together where they're needed most. And some agencies are even specialized.
“If there's domestic abuse, there's a place for you to go,” Reyes said. “We have a shelter that, if you struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, they'll still take you in.”
But shelters also have rules, and when a guest breaks the rules, they’re asked to leave. Many times, drugs or mental illness play a role.
“Sometimes a person that has mental illness or an addiction problem, they just don't want the help,” Reyes said.
Mission 911 requires people to be sober 30 days before they can stay here. According to Reyes, having to choose between getting high, and getting a place to stay, is why several homeless sleep in parks or on the street.
When the Blucher Park ordinance takes effect, everyday scenes of the homeless camped out, resting anywhere they can, are supposed to go away. As far as he’s concerned, though, the Blucher Park ordinance applies to everyone, not just the homeless.
“I'm also a citizen as much as the homeless are,” he said. “Whatever the ordinance is they put into effect, I'm going to be affected as a citizen of Corpus Christi as well.”
The homeless liaison is expected to begin work Oct. 1.
“The city can now concentrate its efforts of making sure that the people are (placed) where they need to be (placed),” Reyes said.