CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS — The homeless people moved from the area around City Hall have found a new home, one those people hope the city lets them stay at.
Several of the people who were displaced when the city cleans Sam Rankin and Mestina streets ended up at a makeshift camp on the North Side. (9)
“I can get sanctuary right here, there’s good people here, everybody is getting along with each other,” said Donald Jones. “It’s all good.”
Jones has been on the streets for ten years, seven of them in the area around City Hall. For Jones city sweeps are traumatic.
“We’re homeless, and anything dealing with homelessness, there’s always going to be some difficulties in it,” said Jones. “So when they come over doing that and we have to pick it up, pout your stuff back down, it becomes stressing.”
“This is re-traumatizing for people that have already had trauma, and that’s why they’re homeless,” said homeless advocate Bruce Wilson.
Wilson helped many move to the camp. He feels the city can do more to help its homeless, but in partnership with other agencies.
“The public sector can never do enough for homelessness, but the private sector can not do enough for homelessness by itself,” said Wilson.
One way Wilson feels the city can help is by lifting its camping ban, but only for the park where the homeless have set up camp.
“To have a no camping ordinance is a way the city can criminalize homeless people,” said Wilson.
“It’s not just as easy as saying we’re going to pick a park, put everybody there and it’s going to be great,” said Corpus Christi Homeless Services And Workforce Housing Manager Jennifer Buxton.
Buxton says the city is looking at several possible sites for the homeless, including the park where the camp is located.
Meanwhile, Jones says he’s happy where he is, but understands why many homeless choose to stay downtown.
“Nobody really wants to leave downtown because of the programs there and the benefits you get downtown,” said Jones. “Once you get up here, you realize it’s not that bad.”
“It’s over a mile walking to get back and forth,” said Wilson of the camp’s location relative to downtown. “It’s doable, but it’s not as close as it needs to be.”
The people staying in the camp say they’re out of the way and not bothering anybody They would, however, like the city to put a fence around this park to keep other people from bothering them.