A new bill was filed at the Texas Legislature that would require cities above a certain population threshold to provide mobile showers for homeless people and vagrants.
HB 1292 was proposed by State Rep. Elizabeth Campos (D-San Antonio).
If enacted, the bill would require municipalities with populations of 500,000 or more, like Dallas, to “make available a sufficient number of mobile showers to allow daily shower access by each homeless individual residing in the municipality.”
The measure would also require cities to “ensure that the access is sufficient to address the hygienic needs of and the prevention of hygiene-related illnesses in the municipality’s homeless population.”
This is not Campos’ first attempt to move such legislation through. She filed a similar bill two years ago during her first legislative session.
The Dallas Express spoke with Jacob Colglazier, executive director of Keep Dallas Safe, which documents vagrancy and homeless encampments around the Dallas area.
He told The Dallas Express that many homeless people in the city are willfully vagrant, having recently spoken to one, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
“They don’t want to get off the streets, most of the people they know don’t want to,” said Colglazier.
Asked about the bill, Colglazier replied, “Shelters also have showers, so it is not like there are no showers that are already available to the homeless, they already have ways that they can access showers if they need to.”
There are also currently non-profit organizations, such as Streetside Showers in McKinney, providing mobile showers across North Texas.
“Based on my experience speaking with vagrants and seeing the way the City handles things, I think that measure would just make it more comfortable for people to live on the streets,” Colglazier added.
This bill comes as concerns regarding homelessness and vagrancy continue to worsen in Dallas.
A poll conducted by The Dallas Express found that 63% of Dallas residents consider homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling serious problems.
Similarly, another survey concluded that 76% of downtown residents believe that “homelessness is a significant issue” in Dallas, comparable to that of cities like Austin, Houston, Chicago, and New York City.
To deter homelessness and vagrancy, the City of Dallas discourages residents from giving money directly to panhandlers, suggesting that “giving spare change without offering support could make matters worse.”
Colglazier indicated that providing them with showers would have a similar effect.
Many vagrants continue to willingly live on the street rather than utilizing the services offered by the City and nonprofit organizations. Though it spends millions of taxpayer dollars every year, the Dallas Office of Homeless Solutions has yet to see significant results.
This lack of success could have to do with a specific element of the City’s approach: Data published last year by the Center on Wealth and Poverty at the Discovery Institute suggests “housing first” solutions are not likely to solve homelessness because they ignore underlying causes of the problem, such as mental illness and drug abuse.
“Housing first” methods are also counterproductive in that they disperse the truly homeless across the city, making it more difficult to achieve a successful single-point-of-service model like that of San Antonio’s Haven for Hope program.
The Dallas Express contacted Rep. Campos’ office for comment but did not hear back by press time.
Not supposed to give the homeless change so as not to encourage them, but it’s okay to furnish showers? Head and shoulders next and axe body spray. Free vending machines. Where do you stop. Two years ago the problem was much less. What happened two years ago?
Please visit State Rep. Elizabeth Campos’s home as she will gladly open her doors for free showers.
Dallas will be taking another step closer to becoming San Francisco or Los Angeles if they pass this bill. This same “legislation” has already been tried in at least Los Angeles and it did nothing to improve the situation. In fact it got worse. I know this for a fact because I used to live in L.A. Portable shower were put in right across the street from city hall.and crimes like rape and sexual assault skyrocketed. What else would you expect to happen if a bunch of drug addicted lunatics get together and took of their clothes. Mayhem on a large scale occurred.
Housing first is another fake solution. With out treatment first, the housing isn’t going to matter. Any fool with half a brain should be able to figure that out.
Absolutely DISGUSTING that another Democrat wants to use taxpayer funds to further enable homeless vagrants to continue terrorizing our communities! God, I cannot wait for 2024.
I would assume out state legislators will not let this crap pass.
For those who are willfully wanting to stay homeless, there should be a place designated in the county to place them. For those who want the help, then direct them to the appropriate case workers. They use the water fountains in the downtown area which is business and residential, and not a nice sight to see. Law enforcement can be a big help to escort them to a more safer environment; at some point authority entities need to start taking some type of action to clear it up since their response to helping on private properties is slim unless it’s high emergency. Use the allocated resources given to create their own community and companies willing to give needed living essentials can do so.
I recommend making any contribution to people on the streets illegal and punishable by fine of labor cleaning up refuse. We have resources available to help homeless people. Hand out information packets with a bus pass and directions.