San Marcos homeless shelter expects influx after Austin camping ban reinstated

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — A San Marcos transitional shelter said it’s preparing for a surge of people looking for housing now that the citywide Austin camping ban is reinstated.

On the south side of San Marcos sits Southside Community Center, where staff make the most with what they have. 

“We have very limited resources here,” Director of Operations Andrew Alejos said.

He said it’ll only be a matter of time before groups of Austin’s homeless come to their shelter for help, with the camping ban going back into effect. 

“We serve a meal every day at 5 p.m., and we’ve kind of been scaling up in anticipation,” he said.

Southside provides food, clothes and temporary housing, but isn’t a typical homeless shelter.

“They have to submit bank statements, show proof of income, show that they’re saving a percentage of their monthly income,” Alejos said.

That means staff turns more people away than they accept. Still, Alejos said some people experiencing homelessness from Austin have already anxiously approached them. 

“A lot of the individuals that are coming are pretty perturbed that they aren’t granted instant access, because they were led to believe when they got here they would have a place to stay,” Alejos said.

He said he thinks Southside will need to work with Travis and Hays Counties to get ahead of what’s to come before it’s unmanageable.

“Nobody owns the homeless issue,” he said. “It’s going to take everyone to come up with a viable solution.”

A number of surrounding cities outside of Austin do have their own laws that prevent homeless camping. 

But Southside in San Marcos is concerned about its location. Being the only one in its area, it’ll have to manage more people who gravitate in that direction.

You can donate and find more information about Southside Community Center here.

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