Austin Executives Question Designated Homeless Camp Plan

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City official Dianna Gray said the designated camp requires extensive community outreach and engagement, additional staff and operational funding.

AUSTIN, Texas – City leaders in Austin appear to be leaning towards dropping a plan to create designated campsites for the city’s homeless population.

In one letter Addressed to the mayor and city council of Austin, Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Gray provided updates on the various city initiatives that are currently working to provide shelter to homeless people in the city.

However, Gray said the two city-owned sites that qualify for a designated encampment would require extensive community outreach and engagement, additional staff and operational funding for zoning, a site plan and ministry approval. Texas Housing and Community Affairs, as needed. by HB 1925.

“Given the schedule, considerable staff effort and financial resources required to continue to create a designated camp on either of the two identified City-owned properties, staff are seeking direction from Council prior to to undertake any other activity related to community engagement, rezoning, at the request of state approval or operational planning, ”Gray said in the letter.

Gray said City staff will continue to work on creating additional accommodation beds or alternatives in the community pending instructions from council.

This week, staff from the Homelessness Strategy Division will begin operations at the Northbridge shelter. This former city-owned hotel will be used as a 65-room shelter and will eventually be converted into permanent supportive accommodation.

The Southbridge shelter, which opened on June 15, is now operating at around 90% occupancy.

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