‘Save our community’: Neighbors protest against plan to house homeless people at northwest Austin hotel

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Neighbors of a northwest Austin hotel touted as a potential location to house homeless people voiced their opposition to the plans on Sunday morning.

Dozens of people gathered for a protest by the Candlewood Suites hotel on Pecan Park Boulevard.

This week, Austin City Council will vote on a proposal to buy the property and use it to provide transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness.

During the protest Sunday morning, neighbors of the hotel argued that the plan would not solve Austin’s homelessness problem.

People protest against a plan to use a hotel to house homeless people (KXAN/Mariano Garza)

Some said the location would not help homeless people, while others said it would impact the community, citing safety concerns.

On Wednesday, the city council approved the purchase of the Texas Bungalows & Suites on Burnet Road in north Austin for an amount to not exceed $6.7 million.

A vote on Candlewood Suites was also due to take place last week, but the decision was postponed at the request of Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, who requested an additional week to share the plan with the public.

People protest against a plan to use a hotel to house homeless people (KXAN/Mariano Garza)

“Yes, we have a homelessness crisis, but treating every proposal as a dire emergency to circumvent dialogue is bad policy,” Kelly said in a statement to KXAN. “The City, in a lot of ways, has lost the trust of the community regarding the homeless situation, particularly since the lifting of the camping ban was pushed through early one Austin morning.”

If the plan is approved, the two properties would add 148 rooms for the city’s use.

“I think the message we need to be sending to the community is that we’re going to move with great urgency to get people out of tents and off our streets,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “I think the motel strategy is the most efficient way for us to do that.”

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