Owner of South Lamar property fed up with homeless encampment

A property owner in Austin, Texas has expressed his frustration with the growing presence of homeless individuals who have been camping out on his property. Pedro Morales, who owns a building on South Lamar, revealed that a makeshift living space has popped up in a narrow space next to his building. He has noticed bedding, shelving, kitchen items, and even a laptop have been set up by the campsite.

Morales explained that it started with what appeared to be one person sleeping between the buildings. However, his contractor even found an ankle monitor, which added to his worries. The situation became worse when the campsite kept growing. Morales has also been victimized, which has compounded his anger.

According to Morales, the situation is getting worse, and he fears that it will begin to affect his business. He spoke of the lack of accountability, saying that he called the city several days ago but did not receive a response. After trying to reach the city, Morales contacted the police on May 5th, who then removed a person for trespassing, only to have the individual return again.

Morales went further to state that Austin’s city officials are to be blamed for the problem, as their progressive approach towards homelessness has created such a situation. He expressed his desire to be tolerant, but, he added, “you can’t affect my business.” He continued, “The way the city has been progressively moving toward a direction of tolerance has caused this. I want to be tolerant, but you can’t affect my business. I can’t allow that. I’ll be tolerant to an extent. Once we start really losing business, it doesn’t make sense. We won’t live in Austin anymore.”

To make matters worse, there appears to be no clear solution at present. Morales feels that there needs to be a better approach to homelessness, with greater attention being given to issues relating to mental health and chemical dependency.

Morales’ growing frustration has led him to hire a cleaning company to tidy up the mess left behind. He made it clear that he did not want to displace anyone, but the situation is impacting him, his business, and his tenants.

The city has yet to respond to Morales’ concerns. It is noteworthy that the city’s website reveals that camping on private property falls under state trespassing law. As it stands, there is no indication of a permanent solution to the problem, leaving the situation in limbo.

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