At Monday’s work session, Metropolis Council members mentioned buying two accommodations in North Austin to safe greater than 150 everlasting supportive housing models for the homeless. 

Mayor Steve Adler urged Council to behave to treatment what he referred to as an “emergency scenario,” maybe utilizing beforehand rejected measures like organising designated campsites.

In a press launch, Council Member Greg Casar celebrated the proposed lodge purchases. “That is how we pull lots of of individuals off the streets and into housing,” he stated. “Solely houses can remedy homelessness.” 

Council Member Alison Alter additionally hailed the hotel-buying technique as a confirmed technique to home homeless folks for comparatively little cash in comparison with constructing new housing. 

Metropolis Council will doubtless vote on the purchases on Wednesday. The 2 accommodations, at 10811 Pecan Park Blvd. and 13311 Burnet Highway, will price $9.5 million and $6.7 million, respectively. The properties will add to the town’s 5 different transformed accommodations, shifting the town nearer to its objective variety of supportive housing models supplied to homeless residents. 

Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, the newly elected District 6 consultant, requested to postpone the vote by every week with the intention to enable extra time for close by residents to remark and for Council to deal with residents’ considerations. Casar stated he needed to vote on the objects on Wednesday. 

Kelly additionally introduced up considerations concerning the lack of public transit close to one of many accommodations, which is situated in her district. Homeless Technique Officer Dianna Gray stated that whereas Capital Metro bus and rail stops could also be too far for residents, it might be attainable to maneuver a bus cease nearer to the lodge. She famous that ProLodge services usually have devoted transportation companies. Kelly was additionally involved concerning the busy streets residents must cross to entry items and companies. 

After Council members completed asking questions concerning the lodge proposal, Adler moved the dialogue towards the state of homelessness extra typically and what the town’s path to fixing it would seem like.

“Going again to the place we have been prior to now isn’t the proper answer,” Adler stated. “As a result of all that does is disguise folks experiencing homelessness.” He continued: “However we have to do one thing with larger urgency on the immediacy of the problem that the neighborhood faces.”

Alter concurred: “I feel we’re at a special time limit, and I feel it’s vital that we reassess.”

Adler told the Austin American-Statesman final week that the present coverage of permitting homeless folks to camp in public locations isn’t working. The announcement got here on the heels of Save Austin Now’s announcement that it has collected sufficient signatures to drive a Might poll measure on homeless tenting. 

Alter stated she needed to discover stopgap options like organising designated tenting areas. “I agree fully that the objective is to get folks to housing,” she stated, “however the place folks and the way individuals are tenting proper now doesn’t appear significantly humane. We’ve got to ask the query about whether or not we will get to that different place fast sufficient, or if we have to put some short-term steps in place alongside the way in which.”

Alter requested Gray whether or not the designated tenting method is possible. “From my perspective,” Gray stated, “nothing is off the desk at current as long as we’re holding to our values about respecting the rights of those neighbors and that our intent is to offer housing.”

Adler pushed Gray to assist provide you with a well-defined plan. “We have to have an implementation schedule that tells us over time how lengthy it’s going to take to get this achieved and what has to occur and benchmarks alongside the way in which so that individuals can measure progress,” he stated. 

Gray stated she and different employees would take a look at many choices and “come again with the professionals and cons of these with an eye fixed towards figuring out extra concrete technique.”

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps.

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