WACO, Texas – A new Texas law makes public camping a criminal offense.
The Salvation Army Waco Commanding Officer Major James Taylor says the homeless camping ban will cause an increase of people in the community needing shelter.
“I’m not sure that’s going to impact the Salvation Army – a lot in terms of what the law is, what may happen is that we will have an increase of people coming to the Salvation Army,” Taylor said.
Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 1925, making public homeless camping a criminal offense with a fine up to $500 – or a Class C Misdemeanor.
With camping outside no longer an option, and limited places to go in Waco, Taylor says The Salvation Army does everything they can to house the people coming in.
“We also have cots that we will put out in this room that we are standing in right now,” Taylor said. “We will do what we call ‘overflow bedding’ if people need to, if they want to stay here. But our beds are full.”
Taylor says affordable housing is a huge need to help decrease the amount of homeless people on the streets.
“That’s why you do have people that are in shelters. That’s why there are people that are camping out,” Taylor said.
FOX 44 reached out to the City of Waco to see how this new law will affect the community, and did not get a response.
Taylor says The Salvation Army will continue to provide resources to those who need it, and they don’t do it alone.
“People in the community support the Salvation Army with financial resources or other types of donations,” Taylor said. “So that we can help people in need and move them from this level of homelessness to a more stable permanent lifestyle.”
To learn how you can donate to The Salvation Army, you can click here.