Meredith Yeomans

Homeless Camp Causing Concern at McKinney Public Library

Drug use and defecation on public property are some of the complaints being made about a new homeless encampment in McKinney.

The camp is located outside Hall Memorial Public Library in downtown McKinney.

At any time, you'll find up to a dozen homeless people and their belongings at the library's south entrance.

Some say it's unsightly and potentially dangerous.

The question being asked is what to do about it?

Jeff Williams said he's been homeless for about five months and recently found refuge at the library.

He said he spends most of his day in the computer lab.

He sleeps in a corner of the library's courtyard.

"It's safer here than being out on the street, way safer. Somebody my age -- I'm 60 some-odd-years-old -- I wouldn't survive long out there," Williams said.

Williams, a veteran, prefers a low profile and wishes others in his situation would do the same.

Instead, library benches look more like kitchen and bathroom counters.

There's a spot behind a wall that's apparently being used as a bathroom.

"I don't understand all that," Williams said.

Not long after a resident posted photos of the makeshift bathroom online, McKinney police were seen patrolling the courtyard.

Officers said there's little they can do to clear out the camp because the library is public property.

Paul Ballesteros is with Emmanuel Labor, a non-profit that helps the homeless.

He said kicking them off the property would shift the problem, not solve it.

"I think all of us can do more to improve the situation, the city and the private sector," Ballesteros said.

Williams said it's an example of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.

He hopes people can look beyond the mess and see the stories.

The city of McKinney said it received a complaint today from a resident about disorderly conduct at the library.

McKinney police say they are monitoring the situation and working with the library on what to do moving forward.

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