Proposed ordinances take aim at homeless near library - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/24/10

Proposed ordinances take aim at homeless near library

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By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Thursday Lubbock City Council will discuss several issues dealing with the city's growing homelessness problem including two possible ordinances.

The local Salvation Army estimates there are nearly 200 homeless in the Lubbock area. "A person would have to be a fool to say there's not a problem with homelessness in Lubbock," said Councilman Paul Beane.

On the agenda for Thursday's City Council meeting is the creation of a 17-member Homelessness Committee with liaisons from the city and other organizations. That committee would be responsible for studying the issues surrounding homelessness, and after a more than a year putting together a report for the city to review.

"Probably the most troubling to me is the fact that this committee is to come back with a report, a highly anticipated report, in 15 months.  We need a solution to the homeless issue in the next 15 minutes," said Beane who disagrees with the city run committee.

Each year the City gives out thousands of dollars from grants to organizations that deal directly with the homeless. Beane believes that's where the responsibility should stay, with the community leading the fight and not the city.

"I just do not believe it's a role for the taxpayer. I believe it's a role for our churches. I believe it's a role for me as an individual. It's a mission for everybody in this city that has the wherewithal to help these people," he said.

But Beane said he will vote yes for the other two items on the agenda addressing where homeless people are known to frequent.

"Our city employees at the Mahon Library have to walk through unimaginable human waste to the way to work, dodging people in sleeping bags and all other manners of filth. That's not going to be tolerated, and as a city councilman I'm not going to tolerate it," said Beane.

The first ordinance would make it illegal for the storage of private property on public areas like sidewalks, parking lots, and alley ways. The other would create a curfew for the Mahon Library, Civic Center and Lubbock Business Center prohibiting people from hanging around the buildings from midnight to 5 a.m.

If passed, breaking either of the two ordinances would be considered a misdemeanor punishable with a fine up to $500.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 will bring you updates on the City Council meeting scheduled for this Thursday.

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