AJC urges city, county to use ARP money on housing homeless

Austin voters voted yes for Prop B overwhelmingly, reinstating the camping ban. However, there is still the main problem, getting the homeless housed.

"Our unhoused neighbors cannot wait, it is literally a life or death situation," said Joao Paulo Connelly, director of organizing, Austin Justice Coalition.

Back in April, the city and several nonprofits joined for a summit, developing a plan to address homelessness. They adopted a plan to house 3,000 households in three years. The Austin Justice Coalition is now calling on the city and county to give the plan some teeth. It started a petition that has garnered more than 1,000 signatures as of Thursday.

"Brilliant plans and ideas are nothing without funding. A bucket of money has come down from the government through the American Rescue Plan act and we need to make sure a significant chunk of that money is committed to this plan," said Connelly.


The AJC started the petition to put pressure on the council to commit $100 million, and county commissioners to commit another $100 million from the government to house people. They also hope the private sector can contribute $100 million.

"Massively racking up our services, provider capacity for folks experiencing homelessness, but it also includes building over 1,000 new units of permanent supportive housing and unlocking thousands of units of housing through partnerships with property management companies," said Connelly, regarding what the money would be put toward.

Cleo Petricek with Save Austin Now agrees it is time to get people off the streets but believes the amount is too much.


"I appreciate that they want to make sure that whatever was agreed by business leaders, the community, at the summit the three-year plan, I think that's commendable. The American Rescue Plan is not only intended for the homeless. We have schools that have not reopened," said Petricek.

Council is set to discuss where the funds will go next week.

Mayor Steve Adler responded to the petition in a statement to FOX 7:

"It appears there is finally wide support both for a plan to meet the challenge of homelessness, including entities like the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Austin Justice Coalition, and also a path to the funding needed.  It will take us all.  I fully support significant investment by local governments in meeting this challenge, including the request of the City made by the petitioners, and hope the wider community at all levels will also join in this effort. This is an important moment."