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Austin City Council Uses Police Budget Cuts To Convert Hotel Into Housing For Homeless

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 28 Jan 2021 18:39
Austin City Council Uses Police Budget Cuts To Convert Hotel Into Housing For HomelessPA Images

Austin City Council has pledged to spend a huge $6.7 million to buy a hotel which will provide accommodation for the city’s homeless. 

The spending comes in the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests which called for police departments to be defunded.

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Following this, $6.5 million of the council’s new plans will be taken from what used to be a reoccurring fund for the Austin Police Department. The remaining money will be taken from its Housing and Planning Department’s general obligation bonds.

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Council Member Gregorio Casar, who led the effort to cut police funding, said in a statement as per The Appeal:

In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests this summer, we made a significant cut to policing dollars and reinvested that in things like this. That’s how we’re paying for this. That’s the only reason we’re able to do this.

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Casar sponsored an amendment in August of last year that set aside $6.5 million in recurring funding to be used for permanent supportive housing and services.

At the time, it was voted that the city’s police budget would immediately be cut by $20 million. According to The Appeal, most of the money came from cancelling cadet classes, reducing overtime spending, and eliminating contracts for things like licence plate readers.

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Almost $80 million will be taken from their budget by moving certain civilian functions out, like dispatch and the forensics lab. Money will still be spent on these things, however, just not through the police budget.

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Following the council voting to purchase the hotel yesterday, January 27, it’s predicted that the building will be able to provide 60 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless people.

Apparently there are plans to buy a second hotel for the same reason, but the vote for this has been postponed until next week.

When all 60 units are at full occupancy, services and operating costs for the hotel is thought to cost around $1.6 million each year.

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Following yesterday’s vote, the council can now move ahead with its plans to purchase Texas Bungalows Hotel & Suites in District 7. Built in 2018, the building reportedly has 65 rooms (41 with kitchenettes), onsite laundry, and a front desk with controlled entry.

Only 60 rooms will be available for Austin’s homeless as there are plans to expand some of the current rooms to allow for more office and common space, such as a community kitchen.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Austin, Homelessness, hotel, Now, Texas, US News

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The Appeal
  1. The Appeal

    AUSTIN WILL USE MONEY CUT FROM POLICE BUDGET TO BUY SUPPORTIVE HOUSING