Thousands Sign Petition Against Homeless Ordinance Changes

Homeless camp near 183 and Ohlen Road

(Credit: KLBJ staff)

Since July 1, 2019, the City of Austin’s rules regarding where homeless people can sit, lie, and camp have been loosened, prompting no shortage of debate.  Supporters say no one should be punished for simply being homeless, and the ordinance changes are a first step toward showing more compassion.  But opponents say the city has opened a Pandora’s Box, of sorts, encouraging and enabling people to cause public safety risks, damage local commerce, and to become an overall eyesore. 

And now, a new petition on has thousands of signatures in support of rescinding the changes recently implemented to the camping portion of the homeless ordinance.


Launched by Travis County Republican Party Chairman Matt Mackowiak, the petition states that since the changes took effect, “the result has been chaos.”  Not only that, the petition also states the change has been bad for tourism and the overall Austin economy — something Mackowiak told KLBJ back in June he believed was inevitable.

“Threatening the economic vitality of downtown is insane, and that’s what this does,” he said.

As of Friday morning at 6:45 a.m., Mackowiak’s petition had 4260 signatures.  He plans to present the petition to the Austin City Council at its next meeting on August 8.

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