HOUSTON - A federal court has issued a temporary restraining order against the City of Houston that challenges two ordinances that target the homeless in an ongoing lawsuit.
As a result of the ruling, law enforcement can't cite or arrest a person for using a tent on public property.
The ACLU of Texas, the National Law center on Homelessness and Poverty and Dechert LLP were the groups that applied for the restraining order after they say Houston police raided a homeless encampment.
The next step is for attorneys on both sides to decide a date for a full hearing on the lawsuit.
“We’re delighted the court recognized that homelessness is not and should not be a crime,” said Trisha Trigilio, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Seeking shelter is not only a right; it’s also a fundamental human necessity. We call on the City to stop enforcing ordinances that criminalize such a basic human need and seek more compassionate and effective methods for solving Houston’s homelessness problem.”
Mayor Sylvester Turner released the following statement in response to the order:
“The city of Houston is disappointed in the order released today. The intent of the ordinance is to take our most vulnerable Houstonians from the streets and place them in permanent supportive housing. I think we can all agree that no one deserves to live in an environment that has been deemed a public health hazard. It is our hope that the court will ultimately conclude that the city of Houston has the right to manage public space by regulating what can be erected there, especially when items impede on the space and pose risks. We will continue to work to find affordable housing options for our neighbors in need.”
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