Subcommittee makes suggestions to homeless ordinance

Subcommittee makes suggestions to homeless ordinance
Grant Reyher, Ad Hoc sub-committee co-chair
Grant Reyher, Ad Hoc sub-committee co-chair

AMARILLO, TX -  The Ad Hoc sub-committee was supposed to have it's final meeting on Jan. 22nd but disagreements on proposed amendments to ordinance 7333 prompted another meeting on Thursday.

"We were able to come together with recommendations for city council and I think that's a move in the right direction," said sub-committee Co-Chair Grant Reyher.

For over two months, their job has been to review ordinance 7333, which restricts anyone from camping overnight on public property. After several hours, exchange words, and suggestions, the group finally came to an agreement.

"One of those things was some wording in some of the first paragraph, talking about what it meant to sleep in a place," said Reyher.

The group would also like the council to look at what the city can do for people if there are no available beds at Amarillo shelters and to make sure the city is not criminalizing the homeless based on HUD regulations.

"They don't want anyone being negatively impacted by a law," said subcommittee member Sean Puller. "Especially because even though homelessness is not in the ordinance, this affects the homeless more than anyone else and I think people don't want that to happen."

Some of the public agree that this committee made the right suggestions to prompt change.

"I think we made a lot progress today and I'm really happy with the results," said resident Chris Seright. "I think the city did a good job of selecting individuals who come from varies backgrounds that are associated with the topic at hand."

The three recommendations will be presented to the city council within the next two weeks. Council members will decide if the ordinance needs to be rewritten or repealed all together.

The subcommittee also voted to have a small task force review the services in Amarillo for the homeless to see what can be added. They will be discussing those in the next several weeks.

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