This US City Is Using Police Funds To Create Housing For Homeless People

This could change lives.
This US City Is Using Police Funds To Create Housing For Homeless People

The Texas capital of Austin just voted to make a big purchase to help its homeless population using funds cut from the city's police department budget.

The City Council on Wednesday voted to purchase the 2-year-old Texas Bungalows Hotel & Suites for nearly $7 million and convert it into 60 units of housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness.

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We need to provide housing to the unhoused, but we can do so in a way that creates good feelings throughout the community. Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly

The nearly $7 million used to purchase the hotel comes from the city's Housing and Planning Department, while some money from a $6.5 million fund will be taken from the police department budget in order to pay for annual services and operating costs, according to The Appeal.

In August 2020, amid widespread Black Live Matter protests, the city voted to 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 Councilmember 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 begin serving the homeless community.

The City 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 January 2020, with just 932 of them sleeping in shelters. 

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