Central Texas man welcomes homeless encampments on his property. Would you?


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Where will the homeless go?

That’s a question many people have as phase three of the public camping ban begins in July. During this phase Austin Police may begin clearing out encampments — and even arresting people who don’t comply.

One Central Texan says he has a solution that will help people get off the streets. He’s calling it Camp Haven Homeless Sanctuary.

“Every time I help someone I’m helping the 17-year-old me that was on the streets,” said Josiah Ingalls, as he walked around his 10-acre Bastrop County property. “When I was 17, I was homeless for about two and a half years.”

Following the camping ban in Austin, Ingalls has decided to turn his property into a transitional shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

“Now these people need somewhere to go,” said Ingalls.

Camp Haven will serve as a home to those who want to live on his property: some living in tents and shelters far from downtown Austin, about 40 minutes.

“Just bringing them out here isn’t enough if we don’t have an end goal,” said Ingalls. “And that end goal is I want them to be productive.”

He hopes to connect people who come to Camp Haven with resources to help them get jobs or mental health assistance. He’s also getting the property ready with other essentials, saying residents will have showers, toilets and all the other hygiene essentials.

Good intentions aside, there’s been some pushback from neighbors.

“My neighbors — which includes my street and several others — are not happy about this,” said Ingalls.

He says there will be strict rules: no drugs and no one convicted of a violent crime will be allowed to stay on the property.

“It is about giving them the mental space so they can focus on long term things,” said Ingalls.

Ingalls also owns a landscaping company which owns land in an Austin subdivision as well. He’s planning to use the privately owned land as a sanctioned camping site for anyone experiencing homelessness, but says he’s run into some legal barriers so far.

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