Tent city campers on the verge of losing their home

Tent city campers on the verge of losing their home
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo's Tent City, now known as Christ Church Camp, is on the verge of being shutdown after the city says it must disband.

"It's a planning zoning ordinance that basically states that we can not camp for more than 72 hours at a time within the city of Amarillo," said Amanda Hunter, founder of Christ Church: Camp of New Beginnings.

The city says they've worked with the camp since it's inception in November and only recently discovered the ordinance that's been in existence since the 1980's.

"We'll be serving them with notice related to that particular violation along with the other violations we've already noted from the public health, the environmental health and the building safety codes," said City Manager Kevin Starbuck.

Per the law, the camp has ten days to disband or face a fine of up to $2,000 per day.

"It not only extends to me, it extends to the land owner along with my residents," said Hunter. "That is something that I'm not willing to put them through."

Residents said their hearts and their hopes live on the land.

"Noah's Ark, you know," Terry Lane, a resident at the camp. "This camp should be called Amanda's Ark, and it feels like we're getting flooded again."
"Abandoned by the town we live in because we don't live like they do," said Nicholas Rice, a resident at the camp. "We don't think like they do and they just think we're trash. And I don't like that.

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In a town hall meeting with city officials in attendance, community members continued to advocate for our invisible neighbors.

"It means a lot knowing that people out there do care," said Bill Kessel, a resident at the camp.

The city said they understand the passion of those in attendance and are with them on finding a long term solution.

"We're not going to send out a bulldozing crew to bulldoze the tent we want to continue to work with them," said Starbuck. "But keeping in mind with each passing day finds related to the enforcement of the ordinance do accumulate."

Campers say while the fear of their homes being bulldozed again remains, their faith is strong.

"This is my home. That's my house. I'll defend it anyway I have to. It means my safety, it means my everything," said Lane.

The owner of the land, who didn't want to be on camera, says he is 100% behind our invisible neighbors staying on his land.

The city says they will explore the continuum of care options and make them easily available should the ordinance be enforced in 10 days.

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