Video shows Texas capital’s ‘crown jewel’ trail trashed by hidden homeless camps: ‘completely destroyed’
An Austin, Texas, resident is raising awareness of the city’s homeless problem and its unseen impact on greenbelt areas.
Jamie Hammonds, an investigative filmmaker who runs the organization Documenting Austin’s Streets and Homeless, or DASH, shared videos Wednesday on Twitter, showing a homeless encampment in the Violet Crown Trail after roughly a year of neglect.
“It’s destroyed. It will never be the same,” Hammonds tweeted.
A real-estate agent concurred, saying the “environmental damage from these camps is immense.”
The videos, shot by Hammonds Wednesday morning, show piles of trash littering the trail as far as the eye can see. Hammonds reported seeing cars, trailers, mountains of garbage, needles, human waste, and hundreds of homeless.
“You can smell these places in the summertime. These large homeless camps. The trash and stuff that’s going up,” Hammond told Fox News Digital. “There are probably 300 folks living up in the woods. Their trail has just been decimated and it’s completely destroyed with trash.”
Hammonds blamed city officials for worsening the problem. He argued that city policies have pushed people experiencing homelessness into greenbelt areas, out of the public’s view. Consequently, many city dwellers are unaware the problem persists.
“The problem’s there, it’s just that people can’t see it. They don’t realize how many people are actually in the woods,” he said.
Hammond lamented the trail’s damage, noting that the “Crown Jewel of Austin” and greenspaces like it, made people forget they were in an urban area.
But Hammond, who has experienced homelessness himself, clarified that he was not out to shame the less fortunate but to keep pressure on city officials to get them into a shelter.
“We would like the city to start trying to provide some type of services to them that would help them get off the streets if they ended up wanting to,” Hammond said. “It’s such a shame what’s happening here.”