Austin, Texas – The Texas capital of Austin just made a bigto help its homeless population using funds from the city’s police department budget.
The city council on Wednesday voted to purchase the two-year-old Texas Bungalows Hotel & Suites for nearly $7-million and convert it into 60 units of supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness.
The $7-million used tothe hotel comes from the city’s Housing and Planning Department, while some money from a recurring $6.5 million fund will be taken from the police department budget in order to pay for annual services and operating costs.
In August 2020, amid widespreadprotests, the city voted to immediately cut over $20 million from the police department’s budget.
“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,” said Council Member Gregorio Casar, “That’s how we’re paying for this. That’s the only reason we’re able to do this.”
It is not yet known when the new supportive housing building will open and being serving the homeless community.
council will be voting on purchasing a second hotel in Austin to be used for the same service next week.
According to a report done by the city, there were 2,506 people experiencing homelessness in Austin in 2020, with just 932 of them sleeping in shelters.