A Homeless Life With Cats on Allen's Landing (Video)
As you walk along the banks of Buffalo Bayou near Allen's Landing, the first thing noticeable about Percy Lyons, the subject of this week's feature on Houston's hidden homeless, is not his camp or his cots, but the cats.
In fact, the 16 cats that live up in Percy's camp are the only thing that may clue you into his whereabouts. It seems a plausible idea that someone living high up under the bridge where we spotted those collared, well-fed cats running around, but from the sidewalk below, it is impossible to tell.
It's impossible to tell where anyone's living in the area, really.
Continue, to see a video of Percy's cat camp on Buffalo Bayou.
Allen's Landing, once the central gathering spot for the city's homeless, is now eerily devoid of life. At least from the outside, anyway. It is currently a construction zone, with fences and barriers acting as blockades, which make it difficult to access parts of the bayou where the camps once sat.
The banks of the bayou are now empty too, at least where they're visible. For the most part, it seems that the homeless are no longer in the area.
On Wednesday, Mayor Parker announced that efforts to reduce homelessness have thus far been successful. She stated that over the past two years, the city has slashed the number of homeless people living in downtown in half, down to 529 from the 1,060 people living there in 2012.
It does seem likely, based on what we encountered searching the bayous and the streets, there has been a thinning out of homeless people in downtown Houston. The area, once heavily populated with the displaced, is now a ghost town.
The "why" behind that number's reduction is another matter.
Mayor Parker credits the drastic downturn with the placement in permanent supportive housing, a goal of the 2016 plan, and says she is committed to continuing that downward trend with the creation of more housing in the next few years.