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City officials pushing community outreach initiative to help homeless population

Homeless camps
Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-13 19:31:57-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many residents have raised concerns over property trespassing from those who may be considered homeless. The City of Corpus Christi and the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) are trying to fix that issue through what they're calling community outreach opportunities.

On Wednesday, the CCPD patrolled several city parks filled with people who are homeless. It was part of an effort to get people off the streets and clean up the parks they have trashed.

"The city is very compassionate, but we do not condone criminal behavior," Lt. Kody Harrison with CCPD's Crime Reduction Unit said.

Lt. Harrison said least 13 people were arrested for outstanding warrants for things like public intoxication and aggressive panhandling.

"These are people who we’ve gone out with homeless outreach, they have refused resources with homeless outreach," Harrison said. "Some of them have made it difficult for homeless outreach to give resources to the other people who needed resources.”

But the homelessness issue is not limited to city parks. Roy Garcia has lived on 12th Street near Morgan for more than 40 years. He said homeless people are constantly coming in and out of the two properties across the street from his home.

"It's been more than one person. Sometimes it's a group of them," Garcia said.

He said they've even started cutting through his yard to get to the vacant building on the next street over. He added that he's seen some of them intoxicated with alcohol and drugs, screaming and fighting. He's even had to call the police on several occasions as some have became violent with other homeless people.

Garcia took his fight to City Hall on Tuesday. During public comment, he told council members how he asked the city for help for more than a decade and nothing has been done. He also said the homeless have trespassed on his property and broken into his detached garage.

"They used bolt cutters to get inside. They stole my mountain bike, my weed eater and my leaf blower," Garcia said.

He and his wife have now added security cameras around their house to watch out.

KRIS 6 News reached out to the City of Corpus Christi's Planning and Community Development department and they issued a statement regarding their efforts to address homelessness in the community:

"The City of Corpus Christi, including Homeless Services and the Corpus Christi Police Department, will focus on areas of concerns for coordinated outreach. Partner agencies including but not limited to South Texas Substance Abuse Recovery Services, Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, the Red Cord Program, Endeavors, Good Samaritan Rescue Mission, The Salvation Army, and the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation provide outreach to persons who are homeless in order to sign them up for services on the spot. The priority is to get people the help they need in a timely manner. At the same time, community safety needs must be addressed and the needs of all residents considered."
- Jenifer Buxton, Planning and Community Development Department

Garcia said he just wants reassurance that his neighborhood won't become another homeless camp and the city's efforts won't stop after one week.

He thanked the Corpus Christi Police Department and Code Enforcement for emphasizing the importance of keeping the community safe and helping those who need it most.

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