Stories by Andrew Weber, KUT

Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

City says two sites could serve as temporary encampments for homeless Austinites

Austin has found two city-owned sites that could serve as camps for people living outdoors. One of the potential campsites is on Manor Road in East Austin and the other is on Convict Hill Road in South Austin, according to…

Thursday, July 1, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Group launches effort to put decriminalizing pot, ban on no-knock warrants on Austin’s November ballot

Austin effectively decriminalized marijuana last year. The city also effectively banned no-knock warrants, the controversial police tactic that led to the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson. But those policies are more or less guidelines; they’re not formally enshrined in the city’s charter.…

Monday, June 28, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

An Austin nonprofit is raising money to help make state homeless camp feel more like a neighborhood

For the better part of two years, the Esperanza Community in Southeast Austin has been home for many people experiencing homelessness. On any given day, roughly 150 people live and work on the weather-beaten, 5-acre blacktop owned by the Texas…

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin police officers clear homeless encampments around City Hall

Austin police officers on Monday cleared encampments around City Hall that were erected by people experiencing homelessness. The city said in a statement that officers were moving people from the corner of Guadalupe and Cesar Chavez streets for construction work. The…

Monday, June 14, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin police can start ticketing people for panhandling and camping or sitting in public

The Austin Police Department will begin enforcing a city ban on camping in public that was reinstated by Austin voters last month. Proposition B, the citizen-led effort to reinstate the rules, officially went into effect May 11, but the city adopted a staggered…

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

City staff ask for more time, direction on Austin’s plan to set up homeless encampments

A preliminary plan to set up encampments on city-owned land in Austin has hit a snag. City Council directed city staffers to identify land for temporary camps last month after voters reinstated the ban on public encampments. The initial list was met with pushback, so…

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Black leaders say Austin’s list of proposed sites for homeless camps is inequitable

Black leaders in Austin called the city’s list of proposed sites for public encampments inequitable and criticized staffers for placing most of the locations east of Interstate 35. The group on Monday called for a revision of the plan, which…

Monday, May 24, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin’s homeless population remained steady during pandemic, survey shows

Austin’s homeless population has remained steady since last year, according to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition’s annual count. All told, this year’s count found 3,160 people were experiencing homelessness in Austin, ECHO says. The agency says 2,238 people were unsheltered,…

Thursday, May 20, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin to loosen Covid vaccine, distancing rules for live music and events

Austin’s live music and arts scenes have been hurting in the pandemic. But as more and more Central Texans get vaccinated and Covid-related hospitalizations wane, the city known for live music is priming itself for a return to relative normalcy. As part…

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

City leaders, Austin police say arrests will be a ‘last resort’ as enforcement of homelessness ordinances resumes

It’s illegal – once again – for people experiencing homelessness to set up encampments throughout most of the city. Sitting or lying down in some stretches of Austin and panhandling at night are also against the law after voters this month…

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin won’t make arrests during first phase of reinstating rules related to homelessness

After voters passed Proposition B on May 1, Austin is reinstating rules that ban homeless encampments on public land, prohibit sitting or lying down in parts of the city, and place a nighttime curfew on panhandling. While those rules go…

Monday, May 3, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin voters approve reinstating bans on camping, resting and panhandling

Lee esta historia en español. Austin has voted to reinstate criminal penalties for behavior related to homelessness. With its passage, Proposition B will restore the city’s previous ban on public encampments, prohibition of resting in certain areas and limitations on…

Thursday, April 15, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin’s village of tiny homes for formerly homeless folks to triple in size

The nonprofit that runs Austin’s Community First Village has acquired land and plans to build out more tiny homes to house Austinites transitioning out of homelessness. The far East Austin development of tiny homes and trailers, managed by Mobile Loaves…

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Thousands still waiting for vaccine appointments after Austin Public Health scheduling snafu

People trying to sign up for their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine Monday night faced hourslong delays and were even booted from the queue to get an appointment through Austin Public Health’s site. The glitches were so bad, the…

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Texas is lifting its mask mandate and Covid restrictions on businesses. Here’s what that means.

Lee esta historia en español. Texas is reopening 100 percent, ending the statewide mask mandate and lifting Covid-related restrictions on businesses. Here’s a rundown of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order and what it means for local officials, schools and businesses. What…

Friday, March 5, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

City Council apologizes for Austin’s systemic racism, vows to invest in a Black embassy

Austin City Council has formally apologized for its role in perpetuating racist policies that contributed to historical equity, health and wealth gaps that persist for Black Austinites. A resolution, which passed unanimously Thursday, directs the city to quantify the impact…

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

‘It is now time to open Texas 100 percent,’ Gov. Greg Abbott says

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he’s lifting statewide executive orders that limit occupancy for businesses and require Texans to wear masks in public spaces. “Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100 percent,” Abbott said.…

Monday, March 1, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

These volunteers didn’t wait around to get homeless Austinites into hotels during the historic freeze

Last Wednesday, Patricia Clark was in a hotel room in North Austin watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” She was bored. Just days earlier, she was outside in the 9-degree weather. The 48-year-old has been homeless on and off for…

Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin buys one hotel to convert into housing for homeless – and puts off purchasing another.

After hours of debate, the Austin City Council OK’d one purchase of a hotel to ultimately house Austinites experiencing homelessness, while delaying the purchase of another until next week. The two hotels – one in North Austin’s District 7 and…

Wednesday, December 23, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin’s ailing live music venues could get much-needed money under the new coronavirus relief bill

Live music venues in Austin could see some relief from the new federal coronavirus relief package. The bill, which was passed Monday night, includes $15 billion in relief specifically dedicated to independent venues, theaters and other arts organizations. The bipartisan…

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