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Local pastor opens parking lot to homeless as stay on evictions set to expire

Pastor Jimmy Robles of Last Chance Ministries will begin allowing homeless individuals without a place to stay to sleep in their vehicles at his church parking lot.

SAN ANTONIO — One local pastor is giving people a place to stay as eviction proceedings are slated to pick back up in less than a week. 

Pastor Jimmy Robles of Last Chance Ministries said beginning Tuesday evening, he will begin allowing homeless individuals without a place to stay to sleep in their vehicles at his church parking lot.

Robles and other homeless advocates were in talks with city leaders last week about formal approval for the plan. He said another meeting was scheduled Tuesday evening, but that he's moving forward with his plan with or without city approval.

"It’s just a big old circle," Robles said, explaining how he had been advised by city leaders that they would need to gather more data and get city council approval before they can begin. "The homeless are like, I need somewhere, like, now. So that's why I'm opening the gates."

He said beginning at 8 p.m., he will open his lot for people to park in the more than 100 parking spots to sleep overnight in their vehicles. The lot, which is fenced in, also has portable toilets. 

Robles said he will also offer coffee and water and is working to connect individuals who park in the lot with services to help them through their situation.

"June is right around the corner and we know there's going to be a lot of people that are -- because of the pandemic and what's been happening -- that are going to lose their homes," Robles said.

Robles said he needs city leaders to get on board with his plan to prevent from receiving fines.

"It's not nothing new, but it just seems that every time we come up with a new project, there's there's always an obstacle," Robles said.

Robles' last big attempt to help the homeless by having a community of tiny homes built was shut down by the city due to safety issues. He said he is now hoping for a better outcome with this endeavor.

"I just pray that the city of San Antonio, which is a loving city, will just come and say, 'You know what? How can we help you without getting fines?'" Robles said.

The city's Department of Human Services on Tuesday did not immediately return a request for comment regarding any concerns with Robles' current plan, nor whether the department was in support of the plan.

"I don't see why anybody should be fined for helping the homeless, you know?" Robles said. "So if I get fined, well, we'll see what happens down the road, but I'm going to continue what I need to do."

Robles said his ministry is seeking donations of cots, blankets and diapers.

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