The status quo is not working

The status quo in Austin isn’t working, and our community and elected leaders need to find solutions to this humanitarian challenge.

  • Proposition B

    On Election Day, voters in Austin approved Proposition B, reinstating what is known as the “public camping ban.”

  • Texas State Legislature

    State legislators are also considering several bills focused on homelessness and how local governments address it.

  • We can do better

    Regardless of the laws and ordinances enacted locally or at the state level, we need to ensure those experiencing unsheltered homelessness have safer, more stable options for shelter available to them.

We are deeply committed to addressing homelessness—an issue on which there is near unanimous agreement that our current path is unsustainable. Our city can and must do better to help those living unsheltered in our community. The Chamber has contributed to this process through the launch of ATX Helps in 2019, the participation in the Summit to Address Unsheltered Homelessness in Austin, and engagement in related public policy issues. These initiatives will better ensure the health and safety of those experiencing homelessness, along with the public health and safety of all who live in or visit Austin.

Laura Huffman
President & CEO, Austin Chamber

Key next steps

About the Summit

The Chamber helped facilitate the Summit to Address Unsheltered Homelessness in Austin—which brought together diverse voices with differing viewpoints from across the political spectrum to tackle this challenge for the betterment of our community.

The purpose of the summit was to develop an implementation strategy to effectively and significantly reduce unsheltered homelessness in Austin and accomplish the following:

  1. Unified vision for equitably addressing unsheltered homelessness
  2. Investment plan for addressing unsheltered homelessness
  3. Aligned implementation plans and timelines
  4. Equitable implementation and oversight structures

Summit goals

The Summit has a shared goal to rehouse 3,000 people experiencing homelessness in three years with the following benchmarks:

  • 100 people by June 2021
  • 200 people by August 2021
  • 400 people by December 2021
  • 1,200 people by October 2022
  • 3,000 people by April 2024.

The Austin Chamber, in coordination with the Summit to Address Unsheltered Homelessness participants, is currently working towards the established goals. Efforts underway include:

  • Activating increased shelter and housing capacities.
  • Identifying the resources needed for the immediate deployment of shelter and housing resources.
  • Identifying the necessary social services people need in order to resolve homelessness for an individual.

Regardless of election results, the people of Austin should feel hopeful that there is a plan underway to ensure our neighbors have dignified and safe housing, while also allowing public areas currently used for camping to be restored to shared community spaces.

Only through dedicating ourselves, our time and our financial resources both from the private and public sectors, will we achieve our goal of helping our neighbors who desperately need our help. Failure is not an option. There is too much at stake for our community and there are too many lives dependent upon our action.