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Court Temporarily Blocks Houston Homeless Ordinance

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the city of Houston from enforcing an ordinance that bans homeless camps in public places.

The order, issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, is part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three homeless individuals challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance.

The ordinance, approved in April, prohibits temporary shelters, tents and unauthorized cooking devices in public areas.

Trisha Trigilio, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas, says her organizations is calling on Houston "to stop enforcing ordinances that criminalize such a basic human need" as seeking shelter.

In a statement, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said city officials were "disappointed in the order" but hope Hoyt reconsiders when he hears the merits.

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