Advocate kicked out of city council meeting says civility ordinance hurts homeless

- A neighborhood in North Houston is pushing to have a civility ordinance placed in their area.

Under the city's civility ordinance, it is illegal to sit, lay, or set up personal items like blankets or stools, between 7 AM to 11 PM.

The proposed new ordinance territory covers the Near Northside area, including the Salvation Army shelter where the man accused of killing 11-year old Josue Flores is believed to have stayed prior to that nearby murder.

Residents supporting the ordinance expansion say they hope it will combat crime and drugs in the area.

Those against the expansion feel it is an attack on the area's homeless population. Discussion of the proposal at Tuesday's city council meeting resulted in several homeless advocates being tossed out.

"How can you pay a fine if you're homeless and have no money," said Ashton P Woods, one of the advocates removed from the city council meeting for getting emotional after he says the council failed to hear out his argument. He says he wants communities to focus on helping those on the street, not ticketing them.

The Salvation Army provided a statement Wednesday saying they have not taken a stance on the ordinance, but "are in agreement with our Near Northside neighbors that additional presence of the authorities in the community is beneficial."

Councilwoman Karla Cisneros, who represents this area and has supported the ordinance, was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon. Her office informed FOX26 the formal vote on the ordinance is expected to occur at either the October 25th or November 2nd city council meeting.

 

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