Federal judge: Houston can clear out homeless tent cities

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HOUSTON (AP) - A federal judge has cleared the way for Houston city officials to enforce an ordinance that prohibits homeless people from setting up tents and temporary living quarters in public places.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth, who had blocked enforcement of the law while a civil lawsuit was pending in the courts, lifted his temporary restraining order Thursday and denied a request for a preliminary injunction.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has sued the city, contending the ordinance violates the constitutional protections of homeless people.

City officials argue the tent cities and encampments, primarily under freeway overpasses, are hazardous to public health and safety.

Mayor Sylvester Turner tells the Houston Chronicle he's grateful the judge for now is endorsing the city's efforts.