Unhoused residents face uncertain future after Prop B vote

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AUSTIN, Texas – Many Capitol City voters have spoken out on the hot topic of homelessness in the city.

In the May election, residents voted in favor of Proposition B – 57% to 43% to reinstate a public camping ban that was lifted in July 2019.

The “no sit nor lie” ordinance will make camping in public spaces illegal and limit begging in certain areas. The camping ban is expected to go into effect on May 11, leaving some homeless residents confused by the tight deadline.

Dawn Howell, 54, has been homeless for over seven years. She lives in a homeless camp under an overpass near downtown Austin.

“It’s really bad because they went out and brought us porta-pots. They put us in place and then they cut us off. They kick us out after making us comfortable here, ”Howell says.

She heard the news of prop B’s passage early Sunday morning. As the news spread through his community, many have gotten into a frenzy and are unsure of where they are supposed to go.

Howell speaks to Spectrum News 1 about the homeless settlement. (Spectrum News 1 / Lakisha Lemons)

“Even people living in apartments have 30 days. They gave us 10. We have to find a place to collect all our things in 10 days, ”explains Howell. “They made homeless… homeless. If you think about it, that’s what they did. They made homeless, homeless.”

Howell feels that once she leaves the camp, she has been home for so long, the social workers and volunteers, who normally would help her with services and resources, might not be able to locate it. Howell says she was talking to a social worker about housing assistance. She fears her chance at a shelter will be dashed if she is not able to contact them by May 11.

Howell kisses the volunteer. (Spectrum News 1 / Lakisha Lemons)

“They know where to find me here. But now I won’t be there and I don’t know where I will be day to day. I don’t know where I’m going to sleep, ”Howell says.

The city of Austin recently purchased two hotels that will provide housing for homeless people. Earlier this week, city council also voted in favor of a plan to house 3,000 homeless people over the next three years.



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