On May 1st, 2021, Austin voters passed Prop B, which reinstated and expanded old laws that criminalized homelessness.
- to sleep on any public land if they have any possessions (no tent required),
- to sit or lie down on any public land in the downtown or University of Texas area, and
- to ask for help after 7pm, or anytime around specified infrastructure or in an “aggressive” manner.
These laws took effect on May 11th and unhoused people now face immediate threats to their safety and their ability to exist in public spaces throughout the city. New efforts already in motion seek to create “sanctioned campsites” where people could legally camp, but these proposals risk further concentrating poverty in black and brown neighborhoods and diverting resources needed for housing.
We cannot allow extreme poverty to simply be hidden from view so we no longer feel compelled to help. We must keep everyone focused on providing housing options that work for people and making policy changes that prevent homelessness. With eviction moratoriums set to expire, thousands more families will become homeless and be criminalized.
Local leaders recently agreed to a plan to house 3000+ people in 3 years. Our cause is even more urgent now. We must make sure city and county officials keep and exceed those commitments, especially since they both just received a lot of money from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan.
Please sign this petition to help us keep the pressure on them to do the right thing and provide homes not handcuffs.
Austin’s City Council and Travis County Commissioner’s Court must commit $100 Million EACH from the American Rescue Plan funding in order to:
- House AT LEAST 1,000 people this year & 5,000+ people in 3 years
This should be on top of existing housing efforts and include vouchers for no-barrier housing and the creation of new Permanent Supportive Housing.
- Improve Service Provider Capacity & Responsiveness
This funding must support improving the cultural proficiency of outreach efforts that are informed and led by those with real lived experience of houselessness.
- Rehouse People Equitably
Rehousing must be based on the health and safety needs of those experiencing houselessness and designed to prioritize addressing the inequities that exist within the unhoused community.