Williamson County to sue Austin over hotel for homeless

Williamson County

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County will sue the City of Austin over its plans to turn a northwest Austin hotel into a shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to give the county attorney permission to file suit Tuesday.

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell previously stated he expected the City of Austin to have a conversation with the County before making a decision on the hotel. Gravell says Austin didn’t do that.

“My daddy always said you can always take a man at his word until he proves to you that you cannot trust him, and its clear that we cannot trust the City of Austin. Because they gave us their word that they would communicate with us and they failed to do that,” Gravell said Tuesday.

The hotel at the center of the fight is located in Williamson County and would be used by the City of Austin to house the homeless. The Candlewood Suites on Pecan Park Boulevard near U.S. 183 and Farm-to-Market Road 620 was purchased by the City for over $9 million.

In its previous proposals, the City says it plans to convert the hotel into 80 rooms for people experiencing homelessness.

The City in a statement Wednesday said it had not been served with the lawsuit yet and further clarified what the purpose of the shelter would be.

“The plan is to convert the hotel into apartments, which will provide permanent supportive housing for individuals who were formerly unhoused. It will not be a shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness – it will be a permanent home for our neighbors,” a City of Austin spokesperson said.

Austin City Council approved the purchase of the hotel last week by a vote of 7-4. Council Members Kelly, Alison Alter, Ann Kitchen and Leslie Pool voted against it.

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