Governor Abbott, Attorney General Paxton: Public Camping Ban Must Be Enforced

September 9, 2021 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton today sent a joint letter to the Texas Association of Counties, the Texas Municipal League, and cities across the state reminding cities and counties that House Bill 1925, which bans camping in public places, must now be enforced on a statewide basis. The Governor signed HB 1925 into law in June, and the law went into effect on Wednesday, September 1. The Governor and Attorney General Paxton note that failure to enforce the law by local officials could result in costly litigation and a loss of state grant funds.
Several successful service providers testified in support of HB 1925 during the 87th Legislative Session, with many noting that it is almost impossible to reach people experiencing homelessness with available services when they are located in camps. In addition, these providers testified to the inhumane conditions of these camps which were often littered with garbage, and human waste, and served as hotbeds for human trafficking, property related crimes, and drug use.
Significant federal funding has been made available to local entities to help the homeless, totaling an unprecedented amount of over $358,000,000. In addition, the state made $52.9 million available last month to homeless service providers and plans to make an additional $100,000,000 available next month. The state has also awarded $92,505,049 of ESG-CARES funds to service providers for the homeless. 
"Local entities like yours should uphold the rule of law by enforcing this public camping ban," reads the letter. "In the coming months, we will be monitoring local entities across Texas to ensure compliance with House Bill 1925. We trust that you will begin enforcing the public camping ban in good faith. Doing so will achieve our shared goal of delivering improved services for the homeless and safer communities for everyone."
Read the full letter to the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Municipal League. The same letter was sent to the cities of Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, and Plano.