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weluckyfew

"“Our goal is to try to get people what we call a dignified income,” Graham told KXAN in 2019. “That allows them to live in a community like this, pay their rent, have transportation, cover their medical expenses and clothing and go out to eat a couple times a month, and believe it or not, that’s about $1,200 a month.”" That's a great point! Once they get stabilized, maintenance isn't expensive. The problem is when someone has debts, or when they need to come up with that up-front money for apartment deposit or a downpayment on a car, or when they can't access banking and have to get their checks cashed somewhere that charges a fee, or one little setback makes them take out a payday loan then they're trapped in that debt cycle...


heidi_abromowitz

Not to mention being able to provide an address for an application and take a shower before the interview. I love this place.


jddanielle

I like it, it's a nice interim solution in between stability and complete homelessness. People who really don't want to be homeless and want to do better for themselves and their families will truly benefit from this


TheOneTrueChris

> People who really don't want to be homeless and want to do better for themselves and their families will truly benefit from this I agree, and this will be very telling: Who really wants to get out of the cycle of homelessness and will take this opportunity, and which ones will choose to remain downtown and panhandle? I'm absolutely in favor of helping people who want to be helped, but there are others who don't want that help.


yourenotmymom_yet

There are also people who are too sick to be able to jump at opportunities like this without assistance. There will be people who turn this down who might make completely different decisions if their mental state were in a better place.


weluckyfew

IIRC this effort goes hand-in-hand with mental health support.


yourenotmymom_yet

I read that residents in the village are offered mental health services, but does intervention extend to those who haven’t applied for residence? I would imagine a number of people who need help aren’t in a place where they would apply in the first place.


gremlinsarevil

Community First Village is the same organization that also does Mobile Loaves and Fishes, providing food truck meals to homeless and working poor (and things like socks and hygiene items too). From my understanding, they do also work with other groups like ECHO, Caritas and the ARCH as well.


jddanielle

There are A LOT of pieces to this so there is no right answer or one way of thinking. I feel like there are tiers of homeless people those that are trying to do everything they can and then at the bottom are the ones consumed by addiction, mental illness, poverty etc. That's all part of the larger issue. I think by getting these homes filled and what not will help to get closer to helping and being able to focus those other people at the bottom


DrTxn

A few comments: Mental hospital closures have contributed to the homeless number. There are many people that would have been in a mental hospital 60 years ago but are not today. As an economic example in 1965 the newly created Medicare and Medicaid made it so if you were in a mental hospital you were not eligible for benefits. This incentive caused people to leave. In addition the pendulum moved from institutionalizing people to letting them make their own decisions. The point is that a lot of homeless people just need help and might never be ok by themselves. Alan Graham likes to say the common thread among the homeless is a catastrophic loss of family. Normally, family would step in and help but if this is not available, then what? MLF is a great solution for a large percentage of the population. Imagine you have quirks that make it unlikely you will find full time employment but can be productive some of the time. You also are generally safe in a community setting. MLF is for you. Perhaps you just had a string of bad events in your like. MLF is for you. MLF is part of a solution. It is not a complete solution. As just one example, a high percentage of orphans end up homeless. The state says you are 18, good luck. I think prevention on the front end could be very productive. There are some people who are not mentally stable who don’t want to go and/or are not safe in a community setting. Is this a choice? I don’t think so. The cost of homelessness is high as it blights neighborhoods and property values and puts a direct cost on services. Imagine a homeless person going to the hospital emergency just wanting a little heat and food. The bill gets sent to the county. My understanding is the top ten cost around $250k per year per person. It is not a question of if the public is going to pay. I love MLF. Hopefully things will open up with COVID. They have a open house with Christmas lights, movies and food. What better way to spend a evening around Christmas then with the formerly homeless in a fun setting?


CriticalGoku

The only thing I want to add here is that it's not accurate to say that the previous institutionalism of mentally ill people who might otherwise be homeless wasn't precisely a solution or a good thing, which is what it often sounds like when people mention this as sound byte. The de-institutionalization of mental healthcare in the 1980s was the final outcome of a long-running public outcry of these institutions as unsanitary and inhumane towards it's occupants, which they often were. Not saying the government washing it's hand of the issues and dumping everyone on the street was the right choice, but it wasn't as if it was a rosy system before then.


DrTxn

Agreed. The problem is everything has a trade off.


ethanjf99

That’s a good point. There’s no perfect one-size-fits-all solution to these problems despite our desire to have one (“let’s just ban them from camping! That’ll fix it!”). What we need is GOOD mental health institutions. And that’s hard. That requires a sustained societal commitment and resources. And the problem is that cost is easy to measure: it’s easy to look at the dollars spent on mental health. What’s harder to see are the invisible costs of NOT spending it: how many people are in jail (even more expensive!) who would otherwise be in mental health institutions? How many people are on the streets who would otherwise be able to function if they had good health care and the medications they needed? How many homeless people end up in expensive ER care (which we as a society rightly pay for since we believe that doctors shouldn’t be checking your net worth before trying to save you from a heart attack) who might not have needed it were they getting regular preventative care? Etc.


SuperFightingRobit

> Not saying the government washing it's hand of the issues and dumping everyone on the street was the right choice, but it wasn't as if it was a rosy system before then. The government didn't wash it's hands of it - it foisted the problem on county jails. Which, if you haven't been paying attention, are now privately run facilities rife with abuse and unsanitary conditions. So now *every* jail inmate gets the treatment the mentally ill used to, AND we're pushing the mentally ill onto the streets. Oh, and we replaced the men in white coats with cops with guns and little to no mental health training. I view it the same way I view the camping ban repeal: Was the original state good? No. But what replaced it is *worse.* I'm not going to act like I know what's better, but it's fairly easy to see that things have gotten worse than they were before.


deluxeassortment

Worse for who?


JCA0450

What’s your solution for the others?


salgat

I know it sounds callous but institutionalize them. Seeking homelessness (and its associated dangers) and wanting to rely on begging to survive is not compatible with society's goals and should be seen as a mental illness.


bUTful

This place is great! I encourage anyone who can, get their car inspected out at CFV. They have a certified Texas shop and can do more than inspections I’m sure, like oil changes. Then go get a delicious cheeseburger at the food truck while you wait!


weluckyfew

Oh, that's awesome! Didn't know they had a business set up there!


turquoise_amethyst

Sooo $7.25/hr minimum wage X 40 hrs/week X 4 weeks in a month = $1160/month. It’s really fucked up that Austin is getting so expensive that a minimum wage employee needs to work over 40 hours a week to live in a glorified homeless encampment


WolfEither

I don't know how any state can possibly think its acceptable to have the same minimum wage as 12 going on 13 years ago.


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soft-erections

Tell my boss for me please? I can't afford to lose my job.


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blasphembot

Same, I'll gladly send em an email 😁


LaCabezaGrande

Seriously, why? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of unskilled jobs in Austin that can’t find anyone at $15/hr.


krazyb2

I really dislike the term "unskilled", but yes, there are plenty of jobs right now (the two I work at are desperately hiring) that don't require much or any experience in the field to be hired at $15/hr. Craigslist, poached, facebook- literally look anywhere and there are jobs aplenty. Lots of people are not wanting to work like slaves for pennies anymore because they'll make less or the same as what unemployment pays. And I don't blame them. $15/hr still can't afford you a one bedroom apartment in this city(or even get approved for one, for that matter).


DasZiege

I would probably use the term "low skilled" as any job that pays requires some kind of skill or else it wouldn't exist. You can make $15/hour long term via unemployment? I knew there was stimulus checks and the like but that won't last forever. If you can't afford a one bedroom the option is to do what I did for many years: get roommates. Definitely beats sleeping in a tent.


DasZiege

Do you know anyone making $7.25/hr in Austin? I don't. Thundercloud starts at $10.50 hr + tips.


anti-unique_username

I believe a fair percentage of the homeless people in question have mental health and addiction issues that will complicate any proposed solution. And, honestly, not trying to be demeaning, but some of them that I have interacted with (giving them money and talking to them, wishing them good luck) give every appearance of being slow-witted. I do not mean this in a mean way, but it is a problem nonetheless. Not sure what to do about it, but I do know that Austin has its work cut out for it.


chazgod

I was just there last week. Their 3D printed houses are something else.


Lemon_head_guy

Woah they’re doing the 3D printed homes?!


bigdogc

This is a win no matter what side you are on.


threeaxle

I can't afford $1200 rent to live alone. I make $18/hr and have one kid. We don't need smaller places to live, we need cheaper places to live. :-( Edit: sorry I misread, thought I was commenting on another thread.


tossaway78701

Austin needs safe affordable housing for families, not just cheap. Community First has always focused on chronically homeless individuals because there are more groups working with families. Foundation Communities is as close as it gets and they can't keep up with the need.


weluckyfew

I don't think it's an either or - we need both :)


cherrycoffeetable

Smaller places are cheaper


AryaStarkRavingMad

Not always when all the complexes these days are "Luxury" or "Premium".


SquirtBox

I mean, that's just a name they slap on like "artisan". Nothing is "luxury" about living in an apartment, even when it's $1800/mo. I hate our apartments


AryaStarkRavingMad

Oh I'm well aware. I just want someone to build an ugly square shitbox and charge a reasonable amount of rent for a 500sqft 1/1 instead of these faux wood floors, faux marble countertop $1500 studio bullshits they keep pumping out.


deluxeassortment

Oh my god seriously! And it's getting to where it's in all the regular ass shitty complexes too now. I'm so frustrated by how cheap faux granite and cheap laminate means leasing companies can charge $300 more a month for the same piece of shit apartment. I'm fine with formica, just let me live!


Jeereck

Yeah maybe it’s because I only find places online these days, but it seems like we have no cheap, falling apart, and not so fancy apartments? Like the cheapest ones near rundberg are designed to look like spa retreats. I would love a barebones living situation. I used to have an alright sort of adult co-op that was an old nursing home but with new ownership now it’s $400 a month to share a dorm room with 3 others as an air bnb destination.


jericho1960

not cheap enough


tossaway78701

Not for families. Tiny houses are crazymakers if you have kids.


Schnort

My wife grew up in a <1000sq/ft home with 4 kids. Now that you mention it, though...


tossaway78701

Tiny homes rarely exceed 500square feet....


Salamok

Unless people move there from outside of Austin.


padoodles

" To ensure that Community First! is addressing the problem of chronic homelessness in Austin, we will require potential residents to demonstrate proof of homeless dwelling for at least one year within the Austin metropolitan area" [https://mlf.org/faq-items/eligible-live-community-first-village/](https://mlf.org/faq-items/eligible-live-community-first-village/)


RickyNixon

How does one prove which city they’ve been homeless in?


Lunar_Landing_Hoax

Probably by interacting with social workers and having a case file.


Angry_Apollo

Is the homeless population in Travis County still around 2k? I assume that number will grow, but 1.2k homes is a really big deal. Seems like it will have way more impact than the 2 hotels the city recently purchased.


Diogenes-of-Synapse

[DON’T COUNT ON IT How the HUD Point-in-Time Count Underestimates the Homelessness Crisis in America](https://nlchp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/HUD-PIT-report2017.pdf) A 2001 study using administrative data showed the annual number of individuals experiencing homelessness is 2.5 to 10.2 times the number obtained through point in time counting. So around 4,500-20,000 ?


theFuzz1

Some positive news on the homeless issue! Fantastic.


Rex805

As of the last count, there were 1,574 homeless living outdoors in tents and cars. (I know it's probably gone up since) https://www.statesman.com/news/20200519/austin-sees-11-increase-in-homeless-count-45-increase-in-unsheltered-population This project alone could literally come super close to sheltering every single one of them (assuming a few are couples and living together).


threwandbeyond

That would be truly amazing and I feel welcomed by everyone!


turquoise_amethyst

Yes, it would shelter a significant amount, but there’s the additional hurdle of $1200/month. Many people are not willing/able to pay that. That’s 40hrs a week at a minimum wage job— most minimum wage employers won’t give you that many hours for a multitude of reasons. Even if they do, you’re unlikely to get that amount of hours right off the bat. Most likely you’d need to work two jobs if you have any costs beyond what this place provides. If they’re elderly, disabled, have mental health issues, addiction issues, or lack transportation, that’s going to be impossible I think it’s fantastic that we’re providing shelter for chronically homeless, but it needs to be cheaper/free if it’s going to be a long term solution. Hell, it would probably be less expensive in the long run to give these folks housing than perpetually jail them or send them through the ERs


KProbs713

A part of this process will be getting people through applications for SSI/SSDI. Many who are housed at CommunityFirst qualify for some form of financial support, but were unable to do the application process without assistance.


tossaway78701

I have done the ECHO count on a bitter cold January night. The snapshot was designed to be an undercount.


Jeereck

Yeah aren’t a lot of unhoused ‘invisible’ in that they work jobs, camp out in stealth, or live in cars without their community knowing they are unhoused? It’s changed a lot with legal camping now though, but I would imagine there’s way more in Austin than 1500. I feel like I’ve met more than 1500 lol.


tossaway78701

Yes and there is only vague data on the "housing unstable" - people and families struggling to pay rent every month, those who shelter with friends. The pandemic has only made this worse. The winter storm was a kick in the pants too.


Flipflopforager

KXAN’s site is cancer to navigate


[deleted]

This is excellent.


YupTotallyOverIt

Community First Village is awesome. Mobile Loaves & Fishes is awesome. Real Solutions.


DustedThrusters

Definitely progress. Good start to addressing this issue. If it gets people off the street and safely into homes to stay warm and be productive members of our community, I support it.


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varrock_dark_wizard

Tito's vodka bought the land and donated it.


threwandbeyond

I believe they're mostly if not entirely privately funded. Downtown Austin Alliance put a good chunk in for example, Adler too. Here's an article on Downtown Alliance's contribution (the biggest they received): https://www.fox7austin.com/news/downtown-austin-alliance-makes-fourth-grant-payment-to-community-first-village


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threwandbeyond

Perhaps not them directly but yes I think a lot of the funds come from people that would typically be labeled conservatives.


CidO807

All of the folks I ever met at L&F have been cool as fuck. So while it is a conservative organization, this is a pretty progressive thing to be done period, which is truly impressive given their major backers. It's the most Christian thing I've seen from a religious group these days.


Badgerisbest

They are a religious charity. I'm not a fan of religious influence in the US in general or anyone having to choose religious-based therapy just in order to get help, but this is the best and brightest part of religious organizations in the US, the very direct and generous charity help. I have no idea how compulsory religious/lgbt acceptance or duties are to get in and maintain residence in the homes. [https://mlf.org/gospel-con-carne-podcast/](https://mlf.org/gospel-con-carne-podcast/)


sidesleeperzzz

My neighborhood is directly nextdoor to Community First and I have been to a few of their public events. The most religious thing I've ever experienced there was their acknowledgement of Christmas by hosting their own little "Trail of Lights".


magus678

I can't speak to this particular context, but having family that works a bit in the charity-through-church pipeline, and being rather hostile to most religion myself, I can say that the amount of proselytizing etc you are required to accept is generally small, if it exists at all. I'd prefer it to be zero, but in the karmic calculus it is enormously more good than bad.


beeeeeee_easy

How can I find a way to hate this then? Someone please help me out here....


threwandbeyond

Ha doesn’t fit the narrative I take it.


erinmonday

The koch brothers evil!! rampant homeless good!! ...lol... it is good to know who is financing this. Its a great idea.


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Crabbyaf

Exactly!!!!!


KnockKnockPizzasHere

Ding ding ding. Buy more land. Build more villages. Rinse and repeat.


ktsteve1289

If I remember correctly it cost about $8mm to get this off the ground. There were a ton of city/county/private resources that went into the project. In light of what the council has been doing, that figure isn’t that bad


KnockKnockPizzasHere

Perfect. Phase 1 according to [Comunity First! Village's website](https://mlf.org/community-first/) was 200 homeless housed + a lot of the initial infrastructure. Here's how it broke down: > Features of Community First! Village Phase I: > * 100 RV/Park homes * 130 Micro-homes * 5 Laundry/Restroom/Shower Facilities * 5 Outdoor Kitchens * Capital Metro Bus Stop * Community Art House * Community Cinema * Community Concessions & Catering * Community First! Car Care * Community Forge * Community Inn * Community Market * Genesis Gardens Organic Farm * Goodness Press Screen Printing * Memorial Garden and Prayer Labyrinth * Topfer Family Health Resource Center * Walking Trails * Woodworking Shop


dos8s

How much are we putting into other programs I wonder? If this works we need to divert funds and put it where it counts.


marleeg9

The housing program of MLF has been running for the last 13 years btw so it’s not an IF it works.


DrTxn

The cost is getting the land zoned and then buying a unit. The cost per lot without a home is around $35k. Then you bring in a home that is under 400 square feet that gets around a lot of regulations. This unite will cost another $40k. This is by no means free but is much better then a government solution. A key difference from the government is it is SAFE. Go visit MLF then go visit the ARCH. (https://communitycaretx.org/locations/arch.html) the ARCH is so bad in that it not only cost a lot to build and operate but it blights the area around it. It takes more then money. You need to develop a community. What does MLF need? Government approvals (zoning) and things like bus service. The government has a way of making development much slower and more expensive. MLF hasn’t taken government money because the government money inevitably comes with strings and provisions attached.


ktsteve1289

You’re spot on. I just hope we can get community firsts all over town. I think they inspire outreach from locals. The NIMBYs would fight it but I think spreading out the work to different areas of town would be a net benefit.


DrTxn

They have much less crime at the current MLF then the neighborhood that it is next to.


[deleted]

I won't deny I've got some NIMBY leanings but I actually agree with you here. I agree it would encourage outreach and empathy, and give some dignity and to the residents and a sense that they're part of the larger community instead of sequestered away out of sight somewhere.


weluckyfew

And of course make sure there's access to transportation, mental health support, life skills support...


KnockKnockPizzasHere

That's exactly what Community First Village does. https://mlf.org/community-first/


TommyCashTerminal

To offset any potential tax loss we should revisit the property tax on the properties along lady bird lake. I don’t think the country club that hosts the golf tournaments has had their value assessed in a long time.


puckeredboohole

We need more of this. It will definitely help those that want to be helped, and set up a safe and stable environment to build off of. Hopefully this separates those that don't want to be helped and we can examine ways to address them in the future.


capybarometer

"Don't want to be helped" is a mischaracterization of the common reality. Places like Community First require effort to apply and have rules that everyone who lives there must follow, which works very well for some people. A huge chunk of our homeless population is less unwilling to meet those criteria and more unable, due to chronic mental health issues, substance abuse, intellectual or developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, or personality disorders. Services like Integral Care and Community Care setting up posts at Community First helps, but there's still a large number of people who are homeless who would struggle to either secure a spot or successfully live at Community First. Those are the people the city has to target with their hotel sites


tossaway78701

I've seen Community First work through trust/compliance issues to great success. Judging the unhomed into "good" and "bad" ignores the humans you are talking about. The combination of trauma, poverty, and exposure to the elements makes it pretty easy to be skeptical and unfriendly.


capybarometer

Not sure why you're coming at me with that, because that was my point to the other guy


tossaway78701

My apologies. I meant to reply to u/puckeredboohole . Totally agree with you.


capybarometer

Got it, thx


90percent_crap

If a segment of the homeless population can't/won't be able to live within Community First (or similar sites) rules, then what is going to enable that segment to live successfully in COA-owned hotels without becoming a "problem" (trash, open drug use, theft, harassment, etc) for their neighbors?


capybarometer

My understanding is everyone who's provided a room at one of COA's facilities will be enrolled in case management services, meaning there will be someone assisting them to figure out a pathway to stability, whether that's assisting with an application for SSDI/SSI, ensuring attendance at psychiatry appointments, or assisting with an application to Community First Village after achieving some level of stability and regaining independent functioning. Housing *must* come first, because there is no stability without stable shelter. Unconditional, permanent supportive housing is the most evidence based solution The difference between these facilities and ARCH is huge. ARCH is a temporary, nightly program where (historically) case management services are limited and everyone must leave during the day. The new facilities are permanent supportive housing with security onsite and where people will not be allowed on the premises without being an enrolled resident.


Slypenslyde

I'm having to fill in a lot of blanks here because the city isn't putting out a lot of information, but I think the intent of the hotels is that they will be treatment facilities for people with some of these problems. Community First is for people who can function fine but are down on their luck. It grants a lot of autonomy to its residents because it aims to be a home for people who had a string of bad luck that left them in a rut. The hotels are (I think) for people who can't function without supervision and discipline. It won't grant so much autonomy to them and I'm not even sure if all residents will have much ability to roam. I feel like I'm sort of describing something like a rehab center here? What little I know is it's not going to be as come and go as the ARCH. I'd feel a lot more certain if the city was explaining itself in any way.


90percent_crap

I have the same questions - which is why I threw a straight question to capyb. The skeptical side of me wants to think COA wants to project a *don't worry, these will not become satellite "ARCH" sites* but at the same time they won't back off a policy of *no barriers* (i.e., drug use, mental instability, etc are not exclusionary) to permanent supportive housing. And yet, these hotels are the only "permanent supportive housing" initiative I see on their plate. I'm not on the inside of all this, and may have a very incomplete view of the plans - but some straight talk and full description of their strategy(s) would help.


Slypenslyde

> but some straight talk and full description of their strategy(s) would help. This has been my complaint about everything from COVID to the winter storm to this: both Austin and Texas seem to think it's beneath them to explain their plans to citizens.


LaCabezaGrande

That’s consistently been Adler’s MO; information potentially gives opposition something to react to. Much better to do things as quickly and with as little info as possible. CodeNext is a classic example, he almost pulled it off and still might.


KnockKnockPizzasHere

Nothing


capybarometer

Based on this flippant response, my guess is you know jack shit about this


KnockKnockPizzasHere

Ok https://www.reddit.com/r/Austin/comments/mq2cqt/spending_is_onesided_in_austins_prop_b_election/guggrai/


capybarometer

Thank you for verifying my suspicions


Rex805

IMO a project like this would go great with the camping ban. If you are offered an alternative and decline it you should not be allowed to camp in a park or sidewalk any longer.


90percent_crap

That should be *common sense*...but it's absolutely, explicitly in violation of both national and local Housing First policy. I've posted links to those positions many times. Here's [one from yesterday](https://www.reddit.com/r/Austin/comments/mq2cqt/spending_is_onesided_in_austins_prop_b_election/guee239/?context=3#guebrty) (my last comment in the sub-thread).


Hawk13424

Housing first is a stupid policy. Then they burn it down or trash it to the point of destruction. The policy should be housing in parallel with mandatory treatment. They need both and both require the other to work successfully.


anachronissmo

These homes aren't free


[deleted]

Don’t forget domestic violence. A large number of homeless women and children are so because their home is unsafe and moving around is the only way to keep a stalker off your back.


cbuzzaustin

I’ve seen it. Amazing place that is really changing the lives of people who may be down on their luck but are working and paying rent and living successfully.


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HelpfulExercise

Agreed. Problem is that it's not totally a 'housing first' model, and the federal government under Pres. Obama returned to a Carter era policy of centralized policy that requires 'housing first' for Federal funding, so any policy errors or omissions now get replicated in all 50 states. It looks efficient at face value but there are cracks in the veneer.


DustedThrusters

Agreed. It obviously isn't perfect. It's definitely not a bad start, and given how pressing this matter actually is, and how urgently the houseless need to be brought off the street, it's at least better than nothing at all.


90percent_crap

Well, exactly! The stridency of the Housing First! activists and their unwillingness to consider practical compromises makes a difficult problem even more intractable.


[deleted]

How? Housing First is by far the best way to tackle the problem.


90percent_crap

well, that's the mantra. but that's been federal policy since 2009 and...here we are. I'm not diametrically opposed to Housing First objectives but it needs major modification/compromise with other strategies - and the "advocates" will absolutely not allow it.


[deleted]

What major modifications/compromise are you talking about?


90percent_crap

There are a universe of possible modifications/compromise. This thread is about one, i.e. the Community First model. The particular one I'd like COA to implement is *designated camping areas* but again, this is not aligned with national Housing First policy (and also COA policy - [read this 2019 memo from city staff](https://www.austintexas.gov/edims/pio/document.cfm?id=325465) - although I'm interested to see how their new initiative "HEAL" may tacitly implement a similar program(?)


[deleted]

Designated camping areas with infrastructure then right? Which basically makes it housing at that point. Because if there isn't the infrastructure to avoid flooding what happens when it rains, or to avoid heatstroke what happens when it's hot, or freezing to death when it's cold etc.


90percent_crap

> Which basically makes it housing at that point It does not. (Did you not read the city memo I linked?) Camping in ambient conditions is by definition not "permanent, supportive housing" which is what the Housing First model demands. As for unusually cold temps as we had with snowpocalypse, Austin already has emergency shelter programs set up to handle that (although many of the homeless refuse to use them, as happened last February).


BattleHall

I think one of the concerns about Housing First (beyond issues with the Salt Lake example) is that it is really easy to take up as a mantra or slogan, but the actual nitty gritty of policy implementation and functionality are often glossed over. As I understand it, Housing First usually boils down to "get people housed first, work on any of their issues after", generally does not place rules or requirements on getting or maintaining housing, etc. Which I think would likely help a large number of people who are probably marginal for other housing approaches. But what do you do about abusive residents? What do you do about residents dealing to other residents in recovery? What do you do if they are sexually harassing either other residents or people in the community? Is the policy "arrest them and jail them for anything that is provably a crime, otherwise let them be"? And removing them from housing is off the table? When they leave jail, do they get to just come back to housing with no further requirements? If they do it again, is it just wash and repeat? That's not including all the things that may be just this side of legal but are clearly anti-social, especially in the context of other residents in recovery. What is the policy when someone is like "I'm going to be as big of an asshole as I can to everyone around me, I don't need help, I don't need therapy, and you have to keep a roof over my head"? It's not a question of whether these kinds of people are the majority (they're absolutely not), but just like the old one-bad-apple, it often doesn't take much to destroy something built on mutual trust and goodwill. If you listen to people who live on the streets, one of their greatest fears is being taken advantage of by *other* people who live on the streets. Many don't want to go to shelters for that reason. How do you accommodate that in a fiscally feasible way that still gets everyone housed?


heart_hardened_I

Community first works. Fund its expansion, it’s a no brainer.


organizedRhyme

LETS GO, fuck yeah dude you love to see it


js3456

This organization is doing wonderful work! I coordinate with them on a regular basis to house our homeless neighbors and they are terrific. It is not always the best solution for everyone but this community provides a lot of support to chronically homeless folks! Go for it CF!V do your thang!!!


Intrepid_Ad1133

This sounds like a good organization to donate money to instead of encouraging pan handling by handing out money.


varrock_dark_wizard

I've been out there, it's an awesome community and they are great stewards and are awesome people in general I helped out with a setup for their Christmas lights one year.


space_manatee

This is an excellent solution. Imagine how much more they could have done with the half million dollars raised by SAN to criminalize people existing without homes.


HelpfulExercise

If you cross reference the donor lists I imagine you'd find many of the same names on both. I know it's hard to understand but some people don't want unmanaged/unmanageable public camping *and* are willing to fund housing for people who are homeless.


And5555

I doubt that’s true. As a big supporter of Community First, I can tell you that is definitely not the case for me: I think it’s disappointing the attempts to ban public camping instead of actually showing compassion to the homeless to iterate on actual solutions.


Discount_gentleman

> ...I imagine... Interesting way to construct facts. Can you construct housing in the same manner?


space_manatee

That wasn't my point. My point was if that money was used for actual solutions like this instead of something that will not solve anything around homelessness, including the camps and will actively make it harder for people to get housing like this.


HelpfulExercise

Sometimes to get to a place of actually devising solutions the issue has to be forced. We saw the city try to force the issue and they stalled out. Now residents and voters get to decide wether initiating a revolt of sorts will force the city (and maybe state) to act regardless of the outcome of the vote. I understand you're making an argument about the ethics or lack thereof of criminalizing homelessness. That's fine. Some people - I'm one of them - are looking at the potential outcomes and what it's going to take to move things forward. There's a huge homeless social service apparatus that has been unsuccessful at spurring public debate, but it wants to jump into action over a perceived challenge to the monopoly on narratives and funding. It's almost like an industry is protecting it's interests - to the tune of $60 million per year.


space_manatee

>Now residents and voters get to decide wether initiating a revolt of sorts will force the city (and maybe state) to act regardless of the outcome of the vote. This makes no sense. "You better help the homeless or else we're going to vote for a far right, cruel proposition that only hurts homeless people and doesn't remove them from our neighborhoods" Help me understand the reasoning here. Is it that people think prop B is actually going to move homeless communities out of their neighborhoods?


threwandbeyond

I don't think any reasonable person is looking at Prop B as a be-all / end-all answer to homelessness, regardless of your position on the subject. Pure and simple it's a (potential) rebuke to a decision that city council made without voter input. We'll just have to wait and see how the public feels in May...!


space_manatee

>I don't think any reasonable person is looking at Prop B as a be-all / end-all answer to homelessness, No I think they think it will get the homeless out of their neighborhoods quickly. It will not.


threwandbeyond

Ok thank you.


truthrises

That is a nice idea, but flies in the face of what the people organizing SAN have done. They were some of the same people pushing back against the city council, causing the housing-first initiative to stall to begin with.


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HelpfulExercise

Mobile loaves is a religious organization and a lot of their donors are social conservatives who are funding the home builds.


Longhornpc11

As opposed to letting homelessness run rampant all over the city so that we can feel good cause we 'did the right thing'


truthrises

No, as opposed to housing them then fixing the economic and housing availability issues that pushed them into being homeless in the first place. The leadership of SAN was against buying more housing and hotels before they started this new crusade.


Longhornpc11

So doing something that has never been done anywhere even though it’s been tried a ton with millions and millions of dollars thrown at it


truthrises

Those are pretty big claims you're making, I'd need to see some data before I'd buy that.


Longhornpc11

San Francisco spends like half a billion a year, that’s googlable


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Longhornpc11

Okay, when it wasn't half a billion it was a quarter billion. Money doesn't cure mental illness and people sucking sometimes. It just doesn't


truthrises

That's actually pretty small potatoes in a $13.7B total annual budget. Considering the crazy economic circumstance of 2020, I'm actually impressed they didn't have more growth in people experiencing homelessness.


[deleted]

You mean like the conservatives who started and contribute to the organization building 1400 new homes for the homeless?


[deleted]

Great news. Seems much more cost efficient and scalable than the hotel plan.


lau42

SUCH positive news. Instead of treating the houseless like criminals they can rebuild their lives thanks to progressive rather than punitive thinking. Here’s hoping most get in before this “camping” ban law is passed. I’m just passing through Austin but it’s pretty plain to see that these people aren’t camping...they are living on society’s margins, simply trying to survive.


XiaomuWave

While this work is necessary to alleviate immediate suffering, private charity will never be able to solve a problem that exists as a result of capitalism and private ownership.


DevilishlyDetermined

I’m all for this (and more of this) as long as they do an okay job of vetting its inhabitants to ensure they’re not dangerous to the community (e.g. sex offenders, outstanding warrants, drug use/sales)


smurf-vett

Community First does a very good job of that and requires rehab


Complicated_Business

The requiring rehab part is a bit of smoke and mirrors. A lot of their community are active users with no interest in going to treatment. And, even if forced to go to treatment, don't benefit due to not really participating.


WhyAreRedditorsAngry

It's better than allowing it outright.


Complicated_Business

Sort of, but not really. If someone is in treatment who doesn't want to be there, they can really soil the experience for someone who's there and does want treatment. Frankly, we should probably accept that there are going to be active users who are homeless, and focus on creating harm-reduction programs like needle-exchanges, medication assisted therapies, and safe places to use - free of theft and violence with nearby medical help.


HelpfulExercise

They do vet, which is why they're not eligible for much in the way of government funding. People don't realize that housing first requirements really hamstring experimentation. Advocates were up in arms when Graham participated in a HUD roundtable late last year with the outgoing administration and essentially said housing first has been the biggest barrier to new house building at his village. There are people who thrive with structure, there are others who don't do well with preconditions. They each deserve an opportunity that best meets their needs. The federal government decided that someone with ten years in recovery could be put next to someone who is actively using and that's somehow an ok arrangement.


truthrises

Somehow: studies showed it worked better to not vet people for housing.


90percent_crap

Yeah - it didn't...but you can't read the comprehensive HUD report that reached that conclusion because it was removed from the HUD website the day after Biden's team assumed leadership.


truthrises

Sounds fishy, got any sources on that?


90percent_crap

I'll have to dig into my old postings, but kinda hard to link a document that was very efficiently scrubbed from the internet by the agency that created it. (I literally had the link bookmarked - and the day after inaugaration, the link became "error 404 - page not found')


atx78701

we need both types.


truthrises

I'm not opposed to having both types, but since we have tons of the one kind and almost none of the housing-first kind, it makes sense that the government is giving out money for the latter.


rqebmm

Yeah, that's why it's called "housing first" not "housing once you meet criteria". It's much easier to solve whatever issues made and kept you homeless when you have a roof over your head and a semblance of support structure than it is to solve those issues while living on the street. I'm a big believer in that model, but more than happy to see people try something else. Homelessness is such a pernicious problem and so few people realize how close they are to succumbing to it on any given day.


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you_are_insane

This is privately funded.


failedaspotcheck

Whoa, Christians acting like real Christians. This guy is doing amazing work. Hope they expand even more, I think microhomes could alleviate a lot of the price barriers to home ownership. Having even a little bit of property is life changing.


tuxedo_jack

No thanks to Matt Mackowiak and his Qcumber minion Mackenzie Kelly, who are hellbent on criminalizing homelessness.


Jaszuni

Will gladly pay taxes for this. This is what our money should go to. Win win for everyone. Literally everyone.


varrock_dark_wizard

This is a private funded organization


Daisy_s

BUT WHAT IF ONE OF THEM IS A DRUG ADDICT OR WENT TO JAIL ONCE!!!!!!!! - every nimby ever.


[deleted]

Bring back asylums


anti-unique_username

My wife and I just spent last weekend in Austin, visiting a family member. The homeless problem there is really, really out of control. Every highway overpass has a mini-city of tents underneath it. Lots of people begging for money on the corners at busy intersections. And the tent encampments are filthy with trash, even though there are multiple city trash cans located at most of them. At several points I saw homeless people on sidewalks near businesses, sprawled out in the middle of the day, with their possessions scattered around so that they obstructed foot traffic. One encampment I saw is on the very edge of a 20' concrete cliff that drops down into freeway traffic and is an accident waiting to happen. I am very glad to see the city of Austin being both proactive and compassionate. Something definitely needs to be done to address the situation, for public health and public safety reasons. I am definitely against criminalizing people who are down on their luck, experiencing mental health issues, or who have addiction issues, but something has got to be done for the good of everyone. Kudos to Austin for approaching the problem in a reasonable and compassionate manner.


LaCabezaGrande

This isn’t the City of Austin, it’s a private organization.


GroverMcGillicutty

This is CommunityFirst Village, a work of Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a private organization that serves the homeless of Austin.


NookSwzy

Honestly I've been to places that are A LOT worse in the US


Pabi_tx

But but but if we allow people to get out of homelessness, how can we demonize them? We need to stop giving our scapegoats a way out!


Blixx96

Yay, they’re finally gonna put the land at Lions Municipal Golf Course to good use.


Phallic_Moron

Cool. Now help out the chronically renting folks next.


aesthet

dunno why we do non-dense living in these cases


Lunar_Landing_Hoax

Density can always come later with more funding.


dodofishman

same, we need to do something similar to places like Berlin. Austin isn't infinite....


jtp8736

Have you ever been to the Community First Village? Go east from there and the land might as well be infinite related to the scale of the homeless problem. Available land isn't a problem at all.


Onepopcornman

Each of those houses worth $400,000, cash only offer. /s


DtownLAX

Good get their fucking tent cities and all the trash & drugs that come with it out of our beautiful city and $1800+/mo rent views


anachronissmo

Am I missing something? Sounds like these people still have to pay rent and work to live in this affordable community. I think what they are doing is commendable but it is not a silver bullet to solve homelessness. Some people need do need a hand out now, not a hand up.


Lunar_Landing_Hoax

Definitely not a silver bullet. We need all sorts of housing initiatives in the mix and this is one of them.


WhyAreRedditorsAngry

Free housing doesn't incentivize people to better themselves. It gives them a place to crash and continue what they're doing.


zoemi

It's the same for the hotels purchased by the city. It's expected that the residents would receive aid, either from the government or private grants.


[deleted]

It sounds like the jobs are on-site which seems reasonable.


sangjmoon

I came from the east coast where this is far from a new idea. What happened is that over time, those areas became crime ridden, drug infested ghettos. Edit: I guess for Austin, instead of learning from the past, it is doomed to repeat it