The Austin City Council has pushed forth a transformative measure that will help thousands of homeless Texans in the area. Under this measure, the city will use $6.7 million of police funding and shift it toward purchasing a hotel in the area. The hotel will then be used to provide supportive housing for those in the area who are seeking shelter.
“In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests this summer, we made a significant cut to policing dollars and reinvested that in things like this,” Austin City Council Member Gregorio Casar told The Appeal.
“That’s how we’re paying for this. That’s the only reason we’re able to do this.”
The city council will move forward with acquiring the Texas Bungalows Hotel & Suites in District 7. Currently, the property has 65 rooms, 41 of which have kitchenettes. Texas Bungalows Hotel & Suites also features onsite laundry and a front desk with controlled entry. Austin's Homeless Services Division will work with nonprofit service organizations to provide mental health support, substance abuse rehabilitation programs, job training programs and much more. By bringing together these services, city officials hope to put traditionally marginalized communities in a position to succeed.
“We have a homelessness crisis, but treating every proposal as an out-of-context emergency is not great policy and silences stakeholders,” Austin City Council Member MacKenzie Kelly said.
“We need to provide housing to the unhoused, but we can do so in a way that creates good feelings throughout the community. We want to educate the community on this important project and continue to get feedback.”
Purchasing Texas Bungalows Hotel & Suites is just the first step in a much larger process. The city has cut $20 million from the city's police budget and shifted another $80 million will be shifted to other efforts.
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