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Temporary shelters to treat symptoms of city’s lack of housing

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City Council passed a resolution Thursday directing City Manager Spencer Cronk to identify land and materials in coming weeks for a temporary, housing-focused shelter project to yield between 50 and 100 beds while the city is securing more beds in permanent shelters as well as more affordable and supportive housing supply. The 2019 count by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition found that the total number of people experiencing homelessness in Austin is higher than it’s been in nearly a decade and that there are now almost as many people sleeping on the streets as sleeping in shelters. Volunteers counted 1,169 individuals sleeping in shelters and another 1,086 sleeping on the streets in the early hours of Jan. 26. The city is awaiting the opening of the Salvation Army’s $12 million Rathgeber Center in East Austin later this summer to open up 212 beds to Austin’s homeless. At the same time, the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless downtown is in the process of reducing its total beds from 190 to 130 by the end of the year. Thursday’s resolution directs Cronk to propose a land parcel for the pilot to Council no later than June 20.

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