Austin, Texas – The City of Austin plans to erect a giant tent to accommodate roughly 300 homeless people who were evicted from their roadside homes as winter approaches. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the displacement of the City of Austin’s homeless population from their homes under bridges in the city, using the state’s ownership of the bridges and overpasses to claim jurisdiction over the people who call these structures home.
The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty has condemned both the displacement and the City’s laughable attempt at a solution. The Center noted in a statement that the “mega tent” won’t be available until the first part of 2020 and people who need shelter now have been “left with nowhere to go and left without even the rudimentary shelter of their own tents as winter approaches.” The Center also pointed out that the mega tent cannot accommodate people with disabilities. The mega tent appears to be modeled after a similar temporary structure in San Diego that prompted a federal lawsuit due to its inaccessibility from the Center, Disability Rights California, and Disability Rights Advocates.
Austin Has funded an action plan that aims to end homelessness in the city by providing housing, but a giant tent is not a reasonable solution in the interim.