Katy residents fear crime increase as homeless encampments continue to grow

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- Residents in Katy are surprised to see several homeless encampments near their neighborhood along I-10 and Mason Road.

Williamsburg Settlement is a quiet neighborhood that has been a part of Katy for over a decade.

"We've lived here for a long time, 27 years," said resident Mary Donnelly.

Residents like Donnelly have watched the neighborhood grow over the years, but recently, she's been seeing the area outside of her neighborhood change.

Homeless encampments have now moved in.

"They will come out here on garbage day and pick up things out of the garbage. Which is fine by me, if they want to take it, but you just wonder what they could bring to the neighborhood," Donnelly said.

She says she doesn't mind when people dig through the trash, but the greater concern is crime.

For example, a neighbor's doorbell camera captured a woman walk up to a porch and then run away.

The homeowner, who did not want to be identified, told ABC13 Eyewitness News that other residents have seen the woman from the video at the encampments.

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Katy residents concerned over growing homeless camps

The homeowner also said that the woman was spotted digging through her trash.

Adrianne, a homeless woman who lives on Mason Road, says she's been living on the streets for a year.

"I sleep on the concrete," Adrianne said. "I stayed with the people underneath the bridge a couple of times, but I never wanted to get a spot because I never wanted to get too comfortable out here."

Adrianne says she has a 7-year-old daughter that lives in the Williamsburg Settlement neighborhood, which is why she lives on the streets nearby.

She says she's done some things she's not proud of and understands why people don't want transients like herself in their neighborhood.

"This isn't what I wanted when I was a kid or since I've had a kid," said Adrianne.

The Coalition for the Homeless says transients have likely always been in the suburbs, it's just with development and work along the bayous, they're more visible now.

The coalition recommends residents in this situation to contact them. They work with outreach teams who can assist the homeless, and they also recommend calling the police.

Here are some tips from the Coalition for the Homeless:

  • Katy residents can send an email to info@thewayhomehouston.org and include location and other information about any encampments. That way, the Coalition can coordinate outreach teams to those encampments.

  • Residents could also call the Harris County Sheriff's non-emergency line at 713-221-6000 so their Homeless Outreach Team can go engage and connect people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing.

  • Visit www.thewayhomehouston.org for more information on how you can give time, money, or goods to make an impact and help our community move the needle on solving homelessness.

  • Since 2012, The Way Home Continuum of Care, led by the coalition, has been working to solve homelessness in Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties.

  • More than 100 partners of The Way Home work every day to move individuals and families into permanent housing and then provide them with the supportive services they need to maintain that housing.

  • To-date, more than 17,000 people have been housed by The Way Home with an 84 percent success rate.

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