Mayor: Homeless Camps Breeding Violence, Disease

Despite a restraining order blocking the city of Houston's new homeless ordinances, Mayor Sylvester Turner has ordered a "deep cleansing" of two growing encampments.

Mayor Turner says the encampments have grown under the ACLU's court challenge, and become a breeding ground for drugs, violence and possible Hepatitis A outbreak.

“What we face here instead is danger and disease,” Turner said Thursday. “In the last 30 days this has been the site of two homicides and a stabbing, and none of us will rest until we put an end to this hazard.

The city is urging a federal judge to lift the restraining order, citing unsanitary conditions in homeless camps across the U.S., including feces and urine buildup, already has caused outbreaks of disease.

“There is a Hepatitis A outbreak that is ongoing for the last several months in San Diego where hundreds of people have become infected with Hepatitis A, and it's predominately the people that are living in homeless encampments,” Dr. David Persse, the Houston Fire Department's medical director.

Assistant Police Chief Wendy Baimbridge says Houstonians can also help with eliminating the encampments.

“Money, food, clothing that's great,” she says. “But let's work together with the social services agencies that can actually help with the root cause of why we're out there, that's the real change not spare change campaign and it works.”

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