Battle between homeless community and City of Amarillo continues

Battle between homeless community and City of Amarillo continues
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The battle between the homeless community and the City of Amarillo is continuing on.

As the issue of homelessness continues to affect Amarillo, the property owner of the land where Tent City sat was in municipal court on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, a homeless advocate is maintaining his spot outside City Hall.

Melvin McEwen, the property owner at the former Tent City location whose home sits on that land, pleaded not guilty to violations in municipal court.

City records show they provided him with notices and opportunities to comply before summoning him.

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Two of those violations are for storage of a junk vehicle.

The other two are general sanitary violations citing junk and debris as a spot where rats and mosquitoes could be found.

McEwen declined to appear on camera but said he feels victimized by the city because he leased the land to the camp.

Tent City is continuing to fight violations and an ordinance that blocks camping on public or private property after 72 hours.

According to city records, the camp was able to come into compliance with some of the violations relating to sanitary and environmental health issues.

However, records show at the last city inspection the camp had other sanitary and fire violations.

The camp disbanded and campers are currently at an undisclosed location.

Kip Billups, an advocate for the homeless and co-founder of ACTION, has spent the last week camping out to bring awareness to the issue.

"We came out here Thursday, March 1 at 4:45 p.m. and pitched a tent right there on the steps of City Hall in protest of the City of Amarillo criminalizing homelessness," said Billups.

Billups was arrested by the Amarillo Police Department on March 2 but said that didn't discourage his mission.

"I was arrested Friday around 11:30 a.m. for obstruction of a passageway highway, and the police that came out here were nothing but polite and civil and showed me nothing but respect," said Billups.  "Until such a time where the city addresses the fact that the ordinances stop someone from being able to sleep publicly or privately, I will be out here until the ordinance is overturned or until I run out of bail money."

The City of Amarillo declined to speak on camera, saying as a policy, they do not comment on pending or active litigation or investigations.

Related: Lawsuit claims City of Amarillo violates constitutional rights of Tent City residents

You can view the citations and violations against Tent City below:

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