Austin City Council greenlight motel purchase and shelter remodel

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Austin City Council greenlight motel purchase and shelter remodel

Austin City Council Approves an 8-million dollar deal for a South Austin Motel.

$2-million would be spent on the I-35 Rodeway Inn, the rest dedicated to turning it into a homeless shelter, and running it for two years. Austin activist Chris Harris is pleased with the decision, and added  when all is said and done it’s the first addition to the city’s homeless housing stock in a decade, "and so it's obviously needed. And I think the quick turn around time that this property can have, can really provide an immediate benefit to folks."

However residents living near the Rodeway inn fear the shelter would exacerbate their problems with crime, Resident Anri Domas pointed out to council a nearby and major problem with the location as is. "There is a serious matter of the Park West Inn, which is a mere 100-yards away. It is a known nest of drug dealing and prostitution. Austin PD is aware of this crime hub, but the City of Austin councilmembers may not." Councilmembers asked City Manager Spencer Cronk to look into the situation and make addressing them a priority.

Austin's Mayor Steve Adler likes the new direction council has taken to find rooms for the homeless. If successful the Motel would add 80+ beds to the shelter system. But Adler explained more is absolutely needed. "It looks like something that not only we could put in place right away, but it is something that we can scale... so this might be the quickest way for us to get to  200...300 rooms." Adler said, if the city can get up to that level quickly, people would see and feel significant progress. However, with residents resisting the council's efforts, Adler recognized the City has more work to do when it comes to convincing Austinites of what the city can do. "It's on the city to be able to demonstrate, that we can take areas and actually make them safer and cleaner than they were before something like this comes." Adler points to clean up efforts around the ARCH Homeless shelter and added, if you drive past it today, it doesn't look like it used to. He believes more physical proof like that is necessary if Council is going to continue with the strategy of turning old motels into shelters.
 

(Photo:Shutterstock/Philip Arno Photography)

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