Never miss a story
Sign up for our free daily morning email...
...and afternoon text update
×
(Jordan Vonderhaar/Austonia)
Austin homeless count canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Save Austin Now has garnered enough signatures to place the camping ban on the May ballot if verified by the city.


The group, who wants to reverse City Council's 2019 decision to allow the homeless to camp in designated areas, has said they received 30,000 signatures—well over the 20,000 needed to ensure the issue gets put on the ballot.

On Jan. 19, Save Austin Now submitted the signatures to be reviewed by the city clerk. This comes just two months after the group filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin, citing that the clerk tossed out thousands of legitimate signatures in a bid to keep the issue off the ballot in November.

Homes Not Handcuffs, a local group comprised of representatives from various community, legal and advocacy organizations such as Austin Mutual Aid and University United Methodist, met in front of City Hall on Tuesday morning to oppose the camping ban.

The group said reinstating the ban would be detrimental to Austin's homeless population, citing the known COVID-19 exposure inside local jails.

Austin's homeless population has been on the rise for the past several years, seeing a 45% increase from 2019 to 2020. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2021 homeless count has been canceled.

The city clerk has until Feb. 12 to validate the petition's signatures for it to be on the May 1 ballot.

Popular

As Texas gets ready to lift the mandatory mask mandate on March 10, food and bar workers gathered at the Texas Capitol to express their frustration with the lack of COVID-19 precautions without adequate access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The event, which began at 1 p.m. on Monday, was hosted by the Austin chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, Restaurant Organizing Project and The Amplified Sound Coalition.
Keep Reading Show less

Stacey Abrams spoke during the 2019 SXSW festival. This year, she's a keynote speaker in the festival's virtual event. (Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW)

The world has changed drastically over the past year, and South by Southwest, one of Austin's most beloved institutions, has, too.

After being abruptly canceled by the city last year, one week before it was set to kick-off due to the increasing understanding of the potential impact of COVID-19, it returns this year in a virtual format March 16-20.

Keep Reading Show less
(Austin Public Health/Twitter)

Austin Public Health will release first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments on a weekly basis starting Monday evening. The specific days and number of appointments made available will depend on the weekly allocation from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Previously, APH released first dose appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Keep Reading Show less