AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s still a divide on what should happen next with the homeless population in Austin. This comes after Austin voted Saturday to reinstate the public camping ban.
The camping ban goes back into effect on May 11, but the City of Austin has not yet discussed how it plans to enforce the new restrictions.
There are a still a lot of questions, and many are eager for a solution.
Rupal Chaudhari is the owner and CFO of Homewood and Hampton Inn Suites in Northwest Austin. She’s on edge as city officials have already made plans to house the homeless at the former Candlewood Suites hotel, which is right next to Chaudhari’s hotels.
“I’m not sure what’s the right plan,” Chaudhari said. “I think the city is failing to address this completely. So they’re thinking they’ll buy Candlewood, house people and the problem will just disappear? No.”
Those camping near downtown, UT Austin or other public places not designated as a site by the city can get in legal trouble now.
Ben Nakhaima, a homeless advocate on the board for the Texas Homeless Network, wishes voters had not approved Proposition B. But he just wants to get people off the streets.
“I think the key here is urgency. I would only encourage people to go ahead to not only stay on the council, but the key here is the county court commissioners and make sure they not only divert money to mental health but to housing as well,” Nakhaima said.
Chaudhari wants another option that doesn’t involve housing near her businesses’ front doors or homes. She’s leading a lawsuit against the city to stop the purchase of the Candlewood Suites.
“What is the plan?” Chaudhari asked. “They have responsibility toward the taxpayers, toward the community.”