Save Austin Now calls for audit of city’s spending on homeless

Save Austin Now, a nonprofit, is calling for a “thorough and independent” review of Austin’s spending on homeless programs.

The organization wants the audit to focus specifically on residential facilities purchased by the city since July 1, 2019, when the first changes to homeless camping regulations came into effect, including any information on commissions related to the purchase and sale of real estate.

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Austin buys a hotel to turn it into supportive shelter for the homeless

Texas Bungalows Hotel and Suites is soon to be converted into supportive accommodation for Austin’s homeless.

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“Taxpayers deserve to know how US $ 160 million was spent in fiscal years 2018-2020 and what we need to show for it,” said co-founder Matt Mackowiak in a press release. “Because it appears that most of the money has been spent on waste and, despite massive investments, little new homeless shelter is being made available.”

Mackowiak says an audit “will show how each dollar has been spent and should include full details of how those dollars will benefit our homeless community”.

RELATED: Austin Is Buying A Hotel To Turn It Into Supportive Housing For The Homeless

Last week the Austin City Council decided to purchase the Texas Bungalow Hotel & Suites on Burnet Road in North Austin. The price for the 3 year old, 65 room hotel is expected to be nearly $ 7 million. After the renovation, around 60 permanent supporting housing units should be offered to get people off the streets and accommodate them.

RELATED: Austin City Council Approves Purchase of Homeless Shelter Hotel

Dozens are protesting against buying a hotel for the homeless

Dozens gathered to protest the proposed purchase. Community members expressed themselves audibly with chants from

The council is expected to vote this week to purchase another hotel, Candlewood Suites, on Pecan Park Blvd in North Austin. Dozens gathered on Sunday to protest the proposed purchase. Community members voiced their displeasure as chants of “No to Candlewood” filled the sidewalk.

“As the city proposes massive new public warehouses and more motels and hotels for sale, every Austinite should join our call for this timely review,” said Mackowiak.

RELATED: Abbott Says Texas Will Reinstate Banning Camping For The Homeless If Austin Doesn’t

Save Austin Now members submitted over 27,000 signed petitions in mid-January in hopes of reinstating Austin’s homeless camping ban through the May 2021 election. The first attempt to reinstate the ban was invalidated back in August and they decided to try again from December 1st.

The nonprofit says the ordinance they are about to put before voters reinstates the ban on homeless camping across the city, restores the sit / lie ordinance in the downtown area and extends it to UT campus and the surrounding area and Panhandling in the whole city from 7 a.m. at night prohibits 7 a.m.

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