At at present’s assembly, Austin Metropolis Council members plan to award a contract for as much as $8.1 million over 4 years to the SAFE Alliance to handle and supply providers at a city-owned shelter for these experiencing home violence or sexual abuse. This yr’s funding of $2.1 million will likely be used to transform an present resort property that’s at present serving as a safety lodge for homeless folks prone to Covid-19.

Kelly White, co-CEO of the SAFE Alliance, mentioned the brand new program will double the capability of the group’s shelter. “In order that’s large,” she mentioned, and “desperately wanted.”

The funds are a part of the cash Council reallocated from the Austin Police Division in 2020 within the effort to reimagine public security.

Council members Greg Casar, Alison Alter, Kathie Tovo, Ann Kitchen, Paige Ellis and Mayor Steve Adler joined Travis County Legal professional Delia Garza and District Legal professional José Garza at a press convention Wednesday to elucidate the importance of at present’s vote. Casar famous that that is town’s first such funding since 2001. He mentioned of his a whole lot of votes as a Council member, it might be onerous to consider considered one of which he’s prouder. He mentioned over time he’s gotten calls from constituents searching for help for his or her neighbors who had been experiencing household violence or sexual assault.

“All too usually,” he mentioned, “the reply that comes again is that the shelters are full. And the explanation so usually the shelters are full is as a result of we haven’t made the investments over the course of generations to actually maintain these lower-income group members who haven’t any different possibility and nowhere else to go.”

By buying and renovating motels, Casar mentioned, town can present badly wanted house that saves lives.

Yvette Rouen, vp of residential and help providers, mentioned on any given day the group’s waitlist might have as many individuals on it as are at present in this system. On a typical day, she mentioned, they serve about 90 folks.

Alter mentioned, “Austin usually makes the listing for greatest cities, greatest metropolis to dwell, be entertained, get barbecue, take heed to dwell music … however how ought to we consider ourselves? We must be measured by what we do for these on the margins in our group. Our success as a metropolis must be measured by the assistance we offer and the alternatives we create.”

She identified that 10,000 household violence circumstances had been reported in Travis County in 2018 and that quantity is on the rise. “This contract, together with a number of different Council actions, represents a major dedication to handle the magnitude of the disaster and finish the historic underfunding of those efforts.”

“This can be a essential funding in our homelessness response system,” Tovo mentioned. “When survivors of household violence flee abuse they’re usually pressured to depart their houses in a short time. Confronted with restricted choices for protected, accessible and inexpensive housing, people, and particularly ladies, usually have to remain or return to violent relationships. And plenty of additionally expertise the trauma of coming into into homelessness.”

Kitchen identified that she had served as a rape disaster counselor up to now. “This mission actually is a good instance of what we are able to do once we assume proactively, once we broaden our interested by what public security is, once we take into consideration how we preserve folks protected and forestall hurt,” she mentioned. It’s essential that we take into consideration learn how to forestall crime, not simply react to it after it occurs, she added.

Delia Garza, who as a Council member voted to reallocate cash from the police funds, now serves as Travis County Legal professional. She and District Legal professional José Garza (no relation) described modifications they’ve made of their businesses to concentrate on household violence and attempt to forestall future violent crimes. To that finish, the 2 workplaces have established a program to take again firearms.

Mayor Steve Adler, who described himself as a “groupie of this group,” mentioned its workers are group heroes. Adler’s spouse, Diane Land, serves on the board of the SAFE Alliance and is its treasurer. There are quite a lot of conversations taking place proper now about public security and crime, and about homelessness, Adler mentioned. “Whereas individuals are speaking about what they see, not many individuals are speaking about what we must always do.” Adler mentioned the general public ought to take a look at this choice by Council for example of what must be achieved to fight crime and homelessness.

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