CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Just outside of Lowe's on Airline Road, homeless people have started to camp out in that area for months now, and many residents have expressed their concerns on social media.
Local resident Roel Peña said he noticed the homeless camp situation a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s a very sad, sad thing that has happened to us. It is not just a stranger; it is us; it can happen to me, it can happen to you," Peña said.
Peña wasn’t the only one, as many residents also noticed the growing homeless camp and posted their concerns on social media. Residents expressed how they were noticing accumulated trash and many homeless people outside of Lowe’s on Airline Road.
Roel Peña said he has seen the situation worsen.
“People can’t afford to rent anything," Peña said. "When you are a low income, and your rent goes up another two hundred dollars, they have to move out, and where do you go if you have no family and resources? You end up on the streets,” Peña said.
Business owners said it's common to see people camping out in this area.
Theresa Skaggs has been a business owner in the area for over 30 years, and she is also worried about possible crime.
“It's an intense problem. I can tell you we have seen many things through the windows, drug dealings, people overdosing on the pavements, ” Skaggs said.
Skaggs' store has gotten broken into several times, which is why she and other surrounding stores have installed burglar bars on their windows.
“It’s not something that we can turn our backs on because we know that most of them are intoxicated or they are on some kind of drug, so I look at it as a danger. So, I am scared,” Skaggs said.
Peña says this issue should be addressed by city leaders.
“If they have a concern, they need to call the city and do a petition. Whatever it takes, get one leader, get him involved, get the city involved, and just get it done,” Peña said.
The Corpus Christi Police Department said when they receive calls about this issue and if a crime has not been committed, police will offer assistance via local homeless outreach organizations.
"If we are dispatched to a call for service involving a homeless person, there are several available options depending on the circumstances. If they are simply congregating in an area and committing no crime, we can offer them several resources that work with homelessness," stated CCPD Lt. Michael Peña.
Officials said that if a crime is being committed, depending on the crime, that individual may be issued a citation or placed into custody.
Police encourage residents to call them regarding panhandling, littering, assaults/fighting, or any other concerns in relation to the homeless community.
Digital Content Producer Myra Sanchez contributed to this story.