ALDEEN: We Need to Save Our Beautiful City of Austin & Rescind the New Homeless Camping Ordinance

This issue of human feces on the sidewalks is no joke Weve seen it its a public safety issue and its disgusting!

By Adryana Aldeen

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN Texas So the City of Austin says it will no longer use nuisance laws to keep the citys homeless off the streets. The changes to three City Ordinances which the Austin City Council just recently approved around 2 a.m. on a Friday morning mean people wont be cited for camping in public for sitting on the sidewalk or for asking Austin citizens for money... as long as their activities dont endanger anyone.

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Several students and parents associated with the University of Texas raised concerns about people on the streets near the campus acting aggressively. A few cited the murder of Haruka Weiser in 2016 and the guilty verdict delivered against a man who was homeless at the time of the killing.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler is telling people of this great city that we are now required to reintegrate vulnerable people whove lost their footing.

With all respect Mayor Adler and Austins City Council Members: What in the world were you thinking by approving that policy? Do any of you LIVE HERE?!

I moved to downtown Austin in the spring of 2017 when I married my husband Doug Aldeen. We minimalized in an unbelievable way but love our home and our life. Like thousands of others downtown Austin is our home.

But there are a number of changes other than the ever-climbing downtown skyline or the rising costs of living. 

While Austin has swelled into one of Americas latest boom-towns showing up on nearly every list of The Best Places to Live the best place to start a business in the United States you name it after the city passed an ordinance allowing homeless people to (essentially & legally) camp in public spaces (excluding private property in parks and around City Hall) my husband and I immediately began to see the huge difference in our beautiful neighborhood.

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Right after this ordinance was passed people began to sleep on the bridge by the lake or on the street corner under a temporary tent and people with trash all around them constantly began to ask us to give them money. Some of them which are probably mentally ill screamed at us etc.

We now have to walk carefully so we wont step on peoples vomit or yes believe it or not human feces.

This issue of human feces on the sidewalks is no joke. We have seen it its a public safety issue and its disgusting!

I left with my car yesterday to go grocery shopping at Whole Foods and a homeless man pushing a cart harassed me asking me to share my groceries with him.

Another was in a corner yes excuse the crudeness defecating next to his portable tent.

The problem of peoples poop is also well-known to have affected one of the wealthiest cities San Francisco CA. Between 2011 and 2018 San Francisco experienced a massive increase in reported incidents of human feces found on public streets.

Does Austin want to become the next San Francisco? Do we really want that?

The homeless crisis in the city of Austin is terrible and we need to resolve this. It would be nice to offer not only shelters but a job for those able to work so they can sustain themselves and place themselves in a better situation.

Half of all people experiencing homelessness are in one of five states:

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  • California (129972 people)
  • New York (91897)
  • Florida (31030)
  • Texas (25310) and
  • Washington (22304)

Unsurprisingly the problem is far more visible in urban areas than overall. Those who spend time in these urban sites know that the problem is sad not only for us but for the homeless people as well.

My friend  Matt Mackowiak  who has been living here for more than 30 years says we have never seen an issue like this with broader and deeper opposition than this one.

My husband and I understand we need to be good Samaritans and care for the poor and the needy and many of us do many things to help those in need in different ways via ministries nonprofit organizations and many other venues. Each person is free to volunteer their own philanthropic activities the best way they can but come on! With this new ordinance with these loosened homeless laws that allow for sitting lying or camping in public places without penalty we have ruined our citys previously-heralded downtown area.

We dont feel safe and its disgusting not to be able to enjoy our walks and to have to make sure were not stepping in puke or peoples feces. This needs to stop.

I know its in the plans of the City of Austin to open about three new shelters for the homeless in 2020 but even with that will the people understand that there are consequences already for the policy approved by the mayor and the city council without taking the opinion of those concerned citizens who actually live here?

I do have great hopes in our City Manager Spencer Cronk. He is an outstanding experienced City Manager and Im sure he has been working hard and is doing everything possible to mobilize department heads and staff for the plan to open a new shelter this fall. But Mayor Adler and the members of City Council MUST make the decision to rescind the policy which allows homeless people to camp in public spaces because this is bad for tourism the Austin economy public safety public health and for those who live here.

We need to save our beautiful Austin and I encourage all of you to sign the petition to rescind the homeless camping ordinance in Austin. This petition was an initiative started by Matt Mackowiak.

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You can sign the petition via this link Sign the petition now!

Senior Correspondent Adryana Aldeen is frequently featured nationally statewide & locally on Univision Telemundo CNN Espaol FOX News ABC and other media outlets.

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