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  • Writer's pictureAndy Hogue

Homelessness Inc.'s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week in Austin

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Austin's homelessness czar resigned last week and the timing couldn't be any worse for advocates of the city's Housing First approach.

The next day, news broke of eye-popping accounts of multiple overdose deaths, prostitution, drug manufacturing, violence, and under-cooked meals at one of the city's two "bridge shelters," Northbridge, designed as a channel between the homeless camps and more permanent housing arrangements and treatment opportunities. The whistleblower was previously and allegedly fired after bringing attention to these matters.

And on top of that, a plan to raise Austin's current-11% hotel occupancy tax to compensate for a years-long closing/renovation of its convention center and partially fund homeless services was shelved.

The city also postponed a contract extension for rehabbing an old hotel -- the embattled Candlewood Suites, which the city hopes will become the crown jewel of its Permanent Supportive Housing offerings.

As the popular children's book title goes, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for the homelessness-industrial complex in Texas's capital city.

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