More Faces Showing Up at Tent Camp in Midland County

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- The amenities are limited to a portable DVD player connected to a car battery, makeshift heat lamps, and a campfire grill but for some the wooded area off Interstate 20 is home.

"We're out here because we have to be. You know we have to be. I ain't got nowhere to go and nothing." Ricky Martin, 55, says he moved out to the area off Interstate 20, three years ago. He inherited a large tent from a transient who once lived there.

Martin says the tent community is seeing more new faces.

"I had a girl come through the other day with a little baby with her. She's homeless," Martin says the economy brings lots of people who pass through and stay for a few days.

Martin offered the family canned foods but said the didn't stay long.

A Midland County Deputy escorted a NewsWest 9 through the dirt paths for safety purposes.

"I've noticed more people." Pedro Salinas, who has been living in the area for about two months said. "You know what most of these people are good people, down on their luck or they have a substance abuse problem and that's honest."

Salinas says he moved to Midland from Central Texas following a divorce late last year. Salinas quickly found work in the oil field and worked for six weeks but a week before Christmas, he was laid off.

"I've applied for a job and they're like 'okay, what's your home address' and you're like Sherwood Forest," Salinas said half joking, "What do you say? Okay what's your phone number, what's your mailing address? So it becomes it's own vicious cycle."

Salinas says he did find work in February working for a body shop in Midland. He says he is holding down the job, but finding it difficult.

"You're looking at trying to get dressed to get reasonable looking, and trying to keep clean clothes when you have no water, no electricity, no light, really no nothing." Salinas admits his dependence on alcohol is compounding his situation.

"It's just hard to crawl into that hole when you sink into it," he said somberly.

Salinas said he would accept help or would consider going into rehab clinc.