Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent a second letter to the Mayor of the City of Austin, Steve Adler, on October 10 regarding the homeless crisis in the capitol.
In his previous letter last week, Gov. Abbott demanded Mayor Adler and the city council take action in improving the status quo and addressing the growing homeless crisis in Austin.
“The status quo is increasingly intolerable and a swift course correction is needed to protect the health and safety of Texans, and of the many visitors to Austin,” Gov. Abbott wrote in his previous letter.
Gov. Abbott gave the Mayor and City Council until November 1 to enact measures to improve the situation and address the rise of homeless camps around the city.
The latest letter follows the statement of Austin Police Chief, Brian Manley, suggesting the council reinstates the city’s camping ban.
Throughout Austin, residents have seen an increase in homeless camps in public areas including beneath freeway overpasses since the ban was repealed.
“The consequences of repealing the ban are manifested daily on the streets of Austin: human feces, hypodermic needles, mounds of garbage and people living in unsanitary and inhumane conditions that could lead to an outbreak of communicable diseases,” Gov. Abbott stated in his latest letter.
Gov. Abbott said he agreed with Police Chief Manley’s suggestion of reinstating the ban; while it wasn’t a total solution to the homeless crisis in the state capitol, he believes it is an essential part of demonstrating consequential improvement to the danger the crisis posses to public health and safety.
If the Austin City Council has not taken considerable steps to address and correct the city’s homelessness policies, Gov. Abbott stated he would be forced to use “the tools available to the State of Texas” to address the health and safety concerns and protect the people of Texas and Austin.
The full letter calling on the Austin City Council to reinstate the Camping Ban can be read below.
Dear Mayor Adler:
Austin’s homelessness crisis continues to pose substantial public health and safety problems that must be addressed by the City Council. The severity of the problem was demonstrably exacerbated by the repeal of the camping ban earlier this year.
The consequences of repealing the ban are manifested daily on the streets of Austin: human feces, hypodermic needles, mounds of garbage, and people living in unsanitary and inhumane conditions that could lead to an outbreak of communicable diseases. As you know, Hepatitis A and Typhus are resurfacing in West Coast communities that struggle with the homelessness crisis.
After my prior letter, you publicly assured Austin Police Chief Manley that if the police needed anything, “just tell us what it is and we will do what we can to facilitate.” Among other things, the Chief has suggested a reinstatement of the camping ban. I agree.
Reinstating the camping ban is not a total solution, but it is an essential part of demonstrating consequential improvement in the Austin homelessness crisis and the danger it poses to public health and safety. Absent steps like reinstating the camping ban, the State will have no option but to use state agencies and resources to achieve a similar result. I remain resolute in using state agencies to address this task if action is not taken by Austin by November 1.
Greg Abbott, Governor
To read the full letter Gov. Abbott sent to Mayor Adler last week, click here.