Austin, TX

Opinion: Texas Needs To Fix Its Homelessness Crisis

Matt Lillywhite

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Despite laws prohibiting people from camping in downtown Austin, homeless encampments are still springing up. But like most political issues, the city of solving homelessness in Texas isn't simple. The city of Austin genuinely wants to assist homeless people in finding a safe place to stay. However, there are frequently insufficient resources to deal with the sheer magnitude of the homelessness crisis. Quoting Kathie Tovo, a member of Austin City Council:

"The truth is, you know, we don't have the resources. We need to make sure that each and every one of our neighbors who's experiencing homelessness has a safe place to go."

The city of Austin is actively funding programs to help homeless people. For example, you can call 3-1-1 to connect a homeless person to support. And if someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, 9-1-1 now has a mental health option that can be used to request help from emergency services.

It's no secret that the last few years have resulted in significant financial hardship for Americans across the country. According to CNBC, "The Covid pandemic caused a surge in housing costs and a rise in unemployment, leaving nearly 600,000 Americans unhoused."

Homelessness is also a big problem in other Texan cities. "More than 300,000 Dallas residents live in poverty, and almost 600,000 live in housing distressed households," according to Dallas City Hall. "Of the 2,000 beds in Dallas shelters, the majority are full every night. Dallas also lacks an affordable housing market as the median gross rent of $950.00 is unaffordable to the homeless population."

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