Dozens protest proposed purchase of hotel to house the homeless

Residents are upset saying there has been no communication with the city and that the proposed purchase of the Candlewood Suites in North Austin is going to cause problems. 

On Sunday, dozens gathered to protest the proposed purchase with community members audibly voicing their displeasure as chants of "no to Candlewood" filled the sidewalk. 



"There are hotels all over Austin that would be perfect, that would cost a fraction of what this one will," said Charles Cross. "You can put the homeless there and they are not going to bother anyone in a nice residential area." 

Some residents, like Kayla Walter, said she's not against finding shelters and resources for those in tough times. "If we don't deal with the root issues for these people and come alongside them and help them, there won't be a solution," she said, adding that the Candlewood Suites is not the first step in helping. 

RELATED: Austin City Council approves purchase of hotel for homeless housing

"There has got to be a right place, but this isn't it," said Walter. "This is not safe for our community."

Safety was one of the main concerns for many who came out on Sunday. However, Austin City Council District Six, Mackenzie Kelly, said there are a lot of misconceptions about the hotel. 

She said the hotel will be classified as "permanent supportive housing" for those who are homeless and disabled, not a homeless shelter. "There will be controlled access to the hotel, there will be a front desk operator, security and fencing along the property," Kelly said.

RELATED: Austin buys hotel to transform into supportive housing for homeless

She added that safety is always a priority. "So all around, the sheltered and the unsheltered need to be safe," she said. "That is something I will work with the city to ensure."

There has been a petition started in opposition to the hotel