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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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Pearl Lantana Apartments is one of many apartment complexes around town without running water due to plumbing issues. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

The last night Stephanie Landgraf, 25, spent in her apartment, off of Rundberg Lane, was on Valentine's Day. First, her power went off, only to return shortly after the complex lost water. Since then, she's been staying with friends. "There's no end in sight," she told Austonia. "At this point, I'm just angry."

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 4 oz soda water
  • 2 orange slices, quartered
  • 2 lemon slices, quartered

Directions:

Slice oranges and lemons. Muddle slices and Tito's Handmade Vodka in a glass. Add ice and top with soda water. Enjoy!

Cara Caulkin, Jane Ko, Chelsea Hughes and Kristy Owen helped raise funds and spread the word to feed the community during the winter storm last week. (Cara Caulkin/Instagram)

When city services shut down, four Austin influencers stepped up to bring thousands of free meals to the community.

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