The approaches used to solve homelessness in our major cities — including Austin — are obviously failing.
National headlines of growing homeless camps, increased drug overdose deaths, and sharp upticks in violent crime in our urban areas are all too common. But when critics from the community demand change they are often met with an assumption that what is currently being attempted by city leaders is the only way forward.
Fortunately there's an effective approach to homelessness that's focused on treatment, compassion, and community accountability. And it's right under our noses.
MOVE Candlewood is excited to co-host a panel with the North Austin Republicans, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and special guests from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 20, at Pinballz Lake Creek (13729 Research Blvd., Austin) to address what methods are currently working – some in our own backyard. Panelists to include:
• Alan Graham, founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a social outreach ministry that provides food and clothing, cultivates community and promotes dignity to homeless men and women in need. He also founded Community First! Village in east Austin which is a master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness.
• Michele Steeb, a senior fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation who oversees the foundation’s initiative to transform U.S. and Texas policy regarding homelessness and its root causes. In 2006, Michele joined a struggling shelter for homeless women and children and transformed it into one of the nation’s beacons of success.
• Rupal Chaudhari, founding member of MOVE Candlewood (formerly Stop Candlewood), a coalition of Austin families, businesses and community members who support an alternative to the city of Austin's plans to convert the former Candlewood Suites into a homeless shelter with no specific purpose, which is already attracting crime and illicit activity to a neighborhood near schools and private residences.
• Sgt. Drew McAngus, Former Precinct 3 Travis County Constable and longtime law enforcement officer with decades of experience in working with the homeless. He’s the sole officer of the county’s law enforcement arm who is assigned full-time to identifying and helping the area’s unhoused population through a program he started with the precinct under Constable Stacy Suits.
Organizers expect a capacity-crowd, so we are requesting media RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can reserve space for cameras, laptops, and other equipment.
The general public may RSVP at tinyurl.com/atxhomelesspanel (capacity capped at 100). There is no charge for admission, but guests are requested to order lunch or refreshments from the Pinballz Grill on site.
Attendees are urged to show up at 11:30 a.m. to order food and socialize. The meeting will begin promptly at noon. At 1 p.m. organizers will open up the floor for questions. There will be time for a brief media Q&A following the meeting.