Austin Local News
Councilmember says Homelessness Czar will still lead, after Czar quit her full time role for a consultancy
Austin City Councilmembers still expect their new Homelssness Czar to lead, despite her quiting her full time role, and switching to consultant.
Councilmember Kathie Tovo sa their new Homelessness Strategy Coordinator will still have a leading roll in the City's work to combat homelessness, noting she's already made a good start. "Its my understanding that she will continue to provide leadership on some of these important initiatives. Including, probably, the homelessness encampment strategy." Tovo continued, Pampillo Harris will be alot like the city's other consultants and bring value to the city's work.
Others on Council say Pampilo Harris's change doesn't change much since she is still spearheading the homeless encampment response strategy, which will focus on housing the homeless quickly starting with those around the ARCH and those camping in the Ben White area.
After barely a month on the job, Austin's new homelessness czar is changing up how she works with the city. Lori Pampillo-Harris is moving from being a full-time employee to a paid consultant role. Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales made the announcement in a letter to the Mayor and City Council. Staff cite her family obligations for the move.
Statement from Lori Pampilo Harris:
Lori Pampilo Harris: “I am committed to ending homelessness in Austin. While it is true that due to family obligations I will no longer be serving as a City employee, I will continue to perform many of the same functions in a consulting capacity. I sincerely believe that Austin has a real opportunity to resolve the challenge of homelessness and I look forward to contributing in this new role. This was not a decision I made lightly and I’ve had previous conversations with my immediate supervisor. I’m deeply appreciative of their understanding and willingness to work with me in a way that allows me to meet my family obligations and continue the work we’ve started. Working together, as a community, we can successfully address homelessness in Austin.”
Email to Mayor and Council:
Mayor and Council,
We are working collaboratively toward solid plans and strategies that effectively end homelessness in our community. Together, we have implemented successful solutions, and through your support we have allocated a historic sum of our fiscal year budget ($62.7 million) toward programs for providing services and housing for people experiencing homelessness. One of our most recent announcements was the hiring of Lori Pampilo Harris as the Homeless Strategy Officer whose role has been to coordinate the delivery of City department services.
Lori moved to Austin to begin her position as quickly as possible, which meant that she relocated to Austin ahead of her family. Lori’s family obligations are such that she will be transitioning to a consultant role rather than a full-time employee role. We appreciate the work Lori’s done thus far in this short amount of time, and we look forward to continuing to work with her. In her revised role, she will continue guiding us in matters surrounding homelessness. Homelessness is collectively our highest priority, and we will keep moving forward on the many initiatives underway.
J. Rodney Gonzales
Austin Assistant City Manager
Economic Opportunity & Affordability