Save Austin Now looks to put the homeless camping ban on the May ballot

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A group that wants Austin to reinstate the homeless camping ban says it now has enough signatures to put the issue on the May ballot.

On Tuesday, the group Save Austin Now announced it collected 30,000 signatures. They needed 20,000 to put it on the ballot. The clerk’s office needs to verify those signatures.

“Homelessness is not being addressed right now. Telling a homeless person they can sleep in a tent in 30-degree weather, give them no mental health treatment, no drug and alcohol treatment, no food, no real shelter — that’s worse for the homeless. We’re not anti-homeless, we’re anti-camping,” said Cofounder of Save Austin Now Matt Mackowiak.

In November, Save Austin Now sued the City of Austin, saying the city clerk improperly tossed out thousands of valid signatures to keep the issue off the November ballot.

At the time, the city told KXAN it was confident about its process and disappointed about the lawsuit. It’s still ongoing.

Another group against the effort to reinstate the homeless camping ban met in front of Austin City Hall Tuesday morning.

“It’s just empathy I guess. It’s hard for me to understand how people can be angry at someone who doesn’t have a home when the cards are stacked up against them,” said activist Katie Drackert.

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