Proposed ordinance could move homeless

Proposed ordinance could move homeless

A new piece of legislation could affect when and where Amarillo's homeless can stay at night.

Homeless underneath the bridge in Tent City could be affected by this new ordinance, if it is adopted. They would not be allowed to camp out there any longer between 6 in the evening and 6 in the morning.

Some of the homeless in Tent City spoke with us. Bob Collier says, "It's kind of like a big family. We all look out after each other. And we try not to cause any problems." Ramona McKinley says, "The shelter actually with the bridge being over us, you know, we have a shelter. Like the storm the other night kept us from the rain and the stuff. And being this close (to Faith City Ministries) we can go in, and take shower. We can go in and eat. Go to chapel. It's, it's really home right now."

Collier came from Clovis and McKinley is from the area. These are just some of the many who've created a home under the bridge in Tent City. But if the proposed ordinance goes into effect, they will no longer be able to camp overnight.

Collier says he has a Master's in education counseling and was practicing for 9 years. He says. "Me and my boss cut sideways so I resigned, and I was living in and out of shelters in Clovis, New Mexico."

He says he's been all over town, by bus or walking, applying for jobs. But they tell him he's overqualified. Collier says, "I look at them straight in the eyes like I'm looking at you. And tell them I don't do those things when I get a job. I stay with it, and I work it."

Assistant City Manager Vicki Covey says if the ordinance is passed, "Whether they're under the bridge or they're in you know, somebody's, you know, out in front of city hall in the parking lot... Anybody will be given an opportunity to leave the police department, or whoever is at the facility, will say you can't be here. You have to move along."

The ordinance does have to go through two readings before it is passed. And it could take about a month for it to go in to effect if it's approved.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.