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As Austin struggles to deal with the growing issue of homelessness, a new report by a national consulting firm released Thursday urges a "more humane, person-centered" approach that will bring "more efficient and effective outcomes than the more punitive policies" traditionally used by major cities to get homeless people off the streets.


The city commissioned the 75-page report by Barbara Poppe and Associates—titled Investing for Results: Priorities and Recommendations for a Systems Approach to End Homelessness—in January. It details an extensive plan for aligning the goals of the city's 2018 Action Plan to End Homelessness.

The Action plan culminated more than a year of work by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition group and other stakeholders in the issue.

The city also announced Thursday the creation of the new group, Austin's Public-Private Partnership Task Force to End Homelessness (P3 Homelessness Task Force), focused on reviewing and implementing recommendations in the report. The group includes ECHO; Caritas of Austin; Downtown Austin Alliance; Front Steps; Integral Care; LifeWorks; and the Salvation Army.

The issue is at the forefront as Austin city officials face a possible ballot measure in November that would ban camping in public spaces in the city, reversing action taken by the Austin City Council less than a year ago.

The move was an attempt to address a burgeoning problem, which the new report says can partly be attributed to housing costs rising faster than wages, but it drew as much fire as it did praise.

Austonia asked its readers this week where they stand on a ban on public camping. The results? Nearly 80% said they would support it. See those full results here.

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