The Austin City Council is set to vote on whether the local government should turn vacant hotel rooms into homeless shelters; a move critics say would further escalate the region’s already exploding transient population.
“The Austin City Council will vote Thursday on whether to turn area hotels into homes for the homeless,” reports Fox News. “The move is a big departure from the city’s previous plan to buy a building on the south side of the city and turn it into a shelter.”
“My understanding is it would’ve been a year or two to do those kinds of renovations on that building,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
“Conservatives have slammed state politicians for the growing problem and worry that Austin is heading down the path of West Coast cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle and Portland, Ore., where homelessness has gone from a containable problem to an all-out crisis in less than a decade. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has warned if that Austin hadn’t shown improvement by Nov. 1, the Texas Department of Transportation would begin clearing out encampments under the bridges of state-owned highways and roadways,” adds Fox.
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Source Fox News
Original Story: November 4, 2019
Texas Governor Greg Abbott instructed state and city agencies to begin removing homeless encampments across Austin this week; responding to residents’ requests after the local government passed a law allowing public camping across the Capital.
“State agencies are moving in to clean up Austin, Texas after the capital city became a magnet for homeless vagrants, due to laws allowing people to camp out on the streets,” reports Fox News. “The project started on Monday morning as cleaning crews used leaf blowers and street sweepers to clear debris while they were guarded by state police.”
“Today is a day of action. We began posting notices that TxDOT will clean up homeless camps under highways in Austin starting Monday. Safety will improve soon. The homeless will be offered options for shelter, food, clothing & healthcare,” posted the Governor on social media.
Today is a day of action.
We began posting notices that TxDOT will clean up homeless camps under highways in Austin starting Monday.
Safety will improve soon.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 29, 2019
Source: Fox News
AUSTIN NEXT? Rise in Homeless Camps Across Texas Capital After Officials Ease ‘Public Camping’ Rules
Homeless camps and tent cities have sprung-up around Austin, Texas in recent months; sparking a fierce backlash from angry residents after officials eased regulations regarding “public camping.”
“The rising visibility of homelessness here is sparking a backlash. Some residents, police and business leaders have complained that people living on sidewalks are leaving trash, frightening other residents walking at night and creating a health hazard,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
“Some conservative state politicians say Austin is heading down the path of West Coast cities like San Francisco with large, highly visible homeless populations and are threatening to take action. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has said that if the city doesn’t show improvement by Nov. 1, the Texas Department of Transportation will begin clearing encampments under the bridges of state-owned roadways,” adds the WSJ.
Austin now ranks just behind Seattle with the highest number of homeless people adjusted for total population. Los Angeles ranks second, with San Francisco taking the top spot.
“Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, said he didn’t expect so many people to begin camping in public and is open to adjusting the policy, but won’t return to pushing homeless people out of sight,” adds the newspaper.
Read the full report at the Wall Street Journal.
'BREAKDOWN OF CIVILIZATION': LA Times SLAMS City Officials over Homeless Crisis, Rat Invasion, Garbage Piles
A columnist with the Los Angeles Times unloaded on city officials this week over the region’s escalating homeless crisis, ongoing invasion of rodents, and “sky-high” garbage piles taking over the streets.
“Los Angeles looks as if it’s digging out from a hurricane, with hordes on the streets, tents everywhere and armies of rodents on the march, inciting fears of disease.,” Steve Lopez wrote in his column, which appeared online Saturday night.
“I could give you a hundred breakdowns of what happened and what it all means, but it comes down to this: We’re in troubled waters on a ship without a captain, and though there might be a few pretenders on the bridge, nobody trusts them,” adds Lopez.
“We found out on Tuesday that although the city and county spent $600 million last year to chip away at the number of homeless people, the total increased by 16% to nearly 60,000,” adds the author.
“I naively invited readers last week to email me photos of trash heaps and encampments in their neighborhoods, and my inbox is about to explode,” he wrote. “I’ve got photos of half-clothed people passed out on pavement, sidewalks blocked by tents, bulky items, piles of poop and enough trash to fill the Grand Canyon.”
The current rat invasion sweeping across Los Angeles extended into an unlikely place last week: City Hall. Experts are now blaming the infestation on “homeless camps” circling the public property.
“When faced with complaints earlier this year from city workers about rats infesting L.A. City Hall, most city officials said little about whether the problem was connected to several homeless camps right outside,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“But a newly uncovered report from a pest control company hired by the city has raised fresh questions about whether officials wrongly downplayed that possibility during discussions at City Council meetings,” adds the newspaper.
According to the pest control company hired to clear city hall, workers found “poor sanitary conditions” including human waste, food, and needles throughout the property.
“The homeless are using the grated areas above the pits as their bathroom and relieving themselves,” wrote David Costa, building construction and maintenance superintendent. “This is also attracting the rats. Custodial will need to do some hazmat cleaning of the grates and the pits. There are even hypodermic needles being tossed in the pits along with human waste and other garbage.”
The invasion comes after two LAPD officers were diagnosed with Typhus and other serious diseases related to the city’s rat population.
Read the full story at Fox News.