Stories by Andrew Weber

Friday, November 15, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin OKs plan to buy and retrofit a motel to house homeless

The Austin City Council unanimously passed an $8 million plan to buy and repurpose the Rodeway Inn in South Austin to house people transitioning out of homelessness.The motel could house at least 87 people.Billed as a more proactive approach to…

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin abandons South Austin shelter as it prepares to buy hotels to house the homeless

Austin is no longer pursuing a 100-bed shelter in South Austin and could opt instead to provide housing in motels for homeless Austinites.The move comes after a suggestion from the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, the nonprofit that coordinates Austin and Travis…

Friday, November 8, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Gov. Abbott says he’ll use five acres of state-owned land to temporarily house homeless Austinites

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said the state will use five acres of state land at U.S. Highway 183 and Montopolis Drive as a temporary campsite for homeless Austinites. The site would serve as a stopgap until a privately backed effort…

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Abbott says TxDOT will start cleaning up homeless camps under highways in Austin starting Monday

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office says it’s forging ahead with cleanups of homeless encampments under overpasses in Austin.Ahead of a Nov. 1 deadline for state intervention, Abbott’s spokesperson John Wittman confirmed that the Texas Department of Transportation will clear underpasses of…

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 by Andrew Weber

As Austin rolls out its revised camping and resting bans, the future is uncertain

Everitt Walls is a company man.The 73-year-old veteran served in the Army in Vietnam. He follows rules and he follows chain of command. He also shares a camp across the street from the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH)…

Monday, October 21, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Gov. Abbott moves to clean up homeless camps under bridges in Austin

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office says the Austin City Council has taken a “meaningful step” to address homelessness after its vote last night to partially reinstate a camping ban, but that he intends to ask the Texas Department of Transportation to…

Friday, October 18, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin reinstates limited bans on camping and resting in public

The Austin City Council reinstated partial bans on camping, sitting and lying down in public on Thursday. After hours of debate, Council approved the new ordinance on a 7-4 vote.The city’s new rules ban camping, sitting and lying down within…

Friday, October 11, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin’s homelessness czar steps down a month after her first day

A month after her first official day on the job, Austin’s homeless strategy officer, Lori Pampilo Harris, is quitting.In a letter to Austin City Council on Wednesday, Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales said Pampilo Harris is transitioning to a role…

Friday, October 11, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Gov. Abbott threatens state intervention (again) unless Austin reinstates its camping ban

Gov. Greg Abbott doubled down on his threat to intervene over Austin’s homelessness ordinances.Abbott sent a letter to Mayor Steve Adler on Thursday threatening to send in “state agencies and resources,” unless the city reinstates rules banning camping, sitting or…

Thursday, October 3, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Abbott vows to ‘unleash’ state resources if Austin doesn’t change its homelessness rules by Nov. 1

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he’s prepared to “unleash the full authority of every state agency” if Austin doesn’t address issues surrounding homelessness by Nov. 1.In a letter to Mayor Steve Adler, Abbott said Austin’s revision of its homelessness rules…

Monday, September 30, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Manchaca Road can now be called Menchaca Road after judge tosses case

Manchaca Road is no more. A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block the city of Austin from changing the name of the South Austin road to honor a Texas revolutionary.The nearly yearlong battle stemmed from the city’s…

Friday, September 20, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin City Council punts on reinstating rules to limit camping and resting in public

City Council declined today to revise rules passed in June that rolled back ordinances banning camping, sitting or lying down in public. Council members may take up the measures again next month.After months of uncertainty on the part of police,…

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Council members offer revised plan that phases in restrictions on camping or resting in public

City leaders have a new proposal to regulate behavior related to homelessness ahead of a possible City Council vote that could happen as soon as Wednesday.The proposal comes after roughly a week of infighting among Council members. Kathie Tovo and…

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin City Council proposes bringing back ban on camping, sitting or lying down in certain areas

City Council members have presented plans to roll back city laws passed in June that effectively allowed camping, sitting or lying down in public. Council members will consider the changes, which limit that behavior at specific locations, at their Sept.…

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin City Council could use e-scooter regulations to limit homeless encampments, memo says

City officials released additional guidelines Friday on how to limit homeless encampments in Austin, including spatial limitations on sidewalks and along waterways. The memo from the city manager and the Homeless Strategy Office is meant to guide the Austin City…

Friday, August 30, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Travis County’s public defender office is officially funded

Travis County is in the home stretch of its yearslong effort to establish a public defender office for low-income adult defendants. On Thursday the Texas Indigent Defense Commission OK’d a four-year grant to establish the office in the county –…

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin City Council finalizes ballot language for convention center vote

In November Austin voters will decide the fate of the convention center’s expansion, along with a possible reshuffling of how the city spends money from hotel stays.Ballot language for the public referendum was OK’d by the Austin City Council this…

Thursday, August 22, 2019 by Andrew Weber

At homelessness forum, Council members challenge fears and ‘urban myths’ about shelters, revised law

Austin’s mayor and members of City Council tried to allay fears about the city’s revised rules on homelessness and its push to expand shelter space, at a forum hosted by the Downtown Austin Alliance.The brunt of Wednesday’s discussion focused on…

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 by Andrew Weber

Austin looks to limit camping and resting in public as it pursues housing-first solutions

The Austin City Council provided some clarity Tuesday over where it will limit camping and resting in public, as well as its overall strategy to boost citywide, housing-focused initiatives and investments.Council members heard a briefing from city staff on a…

Monday, August 19, 2019 by Andrew Weber

City memo says Austin could put limits on where homeless people may camp or rest

Austin will reexamine its new rules governing homelessness, according to a memo released Friday.The memo sent to City Council on behalf of Austin’s Homelessness Strategy Office says the city could abandon its idea to make space for emergency encampments in…

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