AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council will vote on a resolution that would direct the city manager to identify the shortages in shelter bed capacity and navigation services. It is part of a list of items relating to homelessness in the city that council will discuss on Thursday.

The resolution, if approved, would also direct the city manager to find cost scenarios to fix the shortage problem.

What does the data show?

Ending Homelessness in Austin and Travis County (ECHO), conducted its 2023 Point in Time (PIT) count and counted 2,374 people. Of the people that were counted, 1,108 were sleeping in shelters and 1,266 were unsheltered.

ECHO estimates there are actually 4,652 people living unsheltered in Austin right now.

According to the recent PIT count, homelessness was more dispersed throughout the city when compared to 2020. For example, district 9, which encompasses downtown, saw a 35% decrease in the unsheltered population. But half of the districts in the city saw an increase in the number of unsheltered individuals, with district 5 seeing the biggest increase at 135%.

Council member Ryan Alter represents district 5, and knows there is a need to increase not only the capacity of shelter beds, but also navigation services.

“We need to do more and we are going to figure out what does the entire system need to look like. Not only so we can shelter individuals, but so people can move through shelters and ultimately get into housing, because that’s how we actually solve this problem,” Alter explained.

Almost 14% of the unsheltered population is living in city-owned parks and greenbelts, according to the PIT count.

When will we find answers?

City documents show that if the resolution is passed, the city manager will have until July 21 to return back to council with a full report of capacity issues and cost scenarios.