San Antonio agencies close drug-filled encampments in the west side

Residents still have concerns

By Tiffany Huertas - Video Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Police Department alongside Haven for Hope and the city investigate two lots along the 2900 block of West Travis Monday morning.

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"Two of the individuals are going back over to Haven. They need some help, want some help," Ron Brown, director of outreach at Haven for Hope, said.

The two encampments were right next to houses in a West Side neighborhood surrounded by businesses and schools.

SAPD found needles, unlivable spaces, and trash everywhere.

Haven for Hope volunteers began to clean up these two spots.

"They have been here for a while. In and out. This is a place where they come and use the substance," Brown said.

From a distance, Daniela Garcia watched.

Garcia said she used to sleep here.

"I've lived this life. This is not something we wake up to every morning and say: I want to live there and sleep out there," Garcia said.

Garcia said she has made her mistakes and is learning from them.

"It’s not a fun lifestyle living out here. It’s not fun being out here," Garcia said.

District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales was there as code compliance and other officials came out to investigate.

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"Many of the people that are here in these encampments, people that are here loitering, that you can see are in fact not homeless. There needs to be a separate directive where we are addressing this issue of drug activity and in the neighborhood that is not associated with homelessness," Gonzales said. "It’s an overwhelming problem and we have to address it every single day."

Neighbors hope this is not the end of this conversation.

Rosa Salinas lives right next to this encampment that was closed down and still has concerns.

"The city comes and cleans and the problem is the same. And there are a lot of drugs next to us," Salinas said.

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