AUSTIN, Texas - It's no secret that homelessness remains a big problem in Austin. Some even say it's become more visible. Just last week, a community panel was held to discuss solutions and what the city has been doing to solve the issue.
But now a large coalition is pushing for the city to allow a zoning change to happen in the Hancock neighborhood, East 39th street to be exact. That is where they want a 100-unit apartment complex to go up.
"It's 100 units for permanent supportive housing. In order to get the project done, the way it was planned and on timeline, we need this zoning change to be approved," said Joao Paulo Connolly, organizing director at Austin Justice Coalition.
The building would be called the Cady Lofts, and it wouldn't just offer housing, but wraparound services.
"You hear people complaining, well why doesn't the city just do something about it? We have encampments, how hard is it to build housing? Here is a perfect example of us trying to get something done and we are facing neighborhood opposition, delays and all kinds of different tactics," said Connolly.
On Tuesday night the planning commission took up the item.
"Our hope is the planning commission will approve this project unanimously and we can take that recommendation to city council and we hope city council will do the same," said Connolly.
Connolly said there has been some opposition from some in the Hancock neighborhood, with some saying they didn't get enough time to review the request and it's too close to single-family homes. He feels the location is exactly where it should be, to truly bring people out of homelessness.
"If we want people to really lift themselves out of the condition of being chronically homeless, and connect them to opportunities and resources to help them change their lives, they need to be well located in central locations in order to do so," he said.
We reached out to the Hancock Neighborhood Association president, who was not available for an interview Tuesday afternoon ahead of the meeting.