Homeless being forced to move following new city ordinance

Homeless being forced to move following new city ordinance

AMARILLO- A new camping ban on public property is forcing dozens of homeless residents to vacate an underpass downtown.

More than 50 residents called the underpass next to Faith City Ministries home for the past few years, but now a new city ordinance is forcing them to pack up and leave.

"It's kind of turned everybody's world upside down," resident Shiryl Edwards said.

She's called tent city home for the past two years.

"Everybody's now having to scramble to find a place to live and some place to go."

This news comes following the city commission's final approval Tuesday to ban overnight camping.

"To have three days to pack up and move out is unheard of," Randy Laird said. "I don't see the mayor down here or city commissioners down here. I don't know what the problem is."

There are a lot of unhappy people wanting answers as to why they are now being forced to leave.

"Safety is our first priority," TxDOT public information officer Paul Braun said. "Asking people to move from the right of way is for their own safety and the safety of the traveling public."

The ordinance doesn't go into effect until the end of the month.

Already, several non-profit organizations have been helping the homeless move to new locations.

"We've gotten a couple people into apartments," Chad Conner with ACTS Community said.

Other volunteers like Laird have decided to open up their doors.

"We are taking some home from here to our house," he said.

The ACTS Community has also helped with providing moving boxes.

It's been a stressful few days since the ordinance was approved.

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, there are only a handful of residents who remain underneath the bridge.

Edwards says it's so hard to see what so many called home being taken away.

"I'm sad," she said. "I'm really sad because I had a family and place that I felt I was safe in. Even though I was living in a tent, I still felt safe."

Amarillo Police have also been out letting residents know about the new ordinance and passing out flyers with the contact information of local area shelters.