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Experts talk Homelessness at SXSW

City officials from across Texas and community groups joined at South by Southwest to talk about homelessness and what should be done about it. Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Alan Graham who operates a tiny home village in Travis County  dedicated to the homeless was featured in a panel.

He said we need more innovative answers that what's been the traditional answer of put people in a home, he explained that's just not how this works, for those on the street, they’ve lost not just a home but family and community.
 
"We cant lock onto one model like housing first, we can't move people out of one neighborhood into another neighborhood just to continue to be homeless.' Graham continued, "we have to look at multiple different ways of relieving the suffering of people."

Graham added,  that could be through technology, getting basic sewer and trash services to places where homeless live, or something completely different.

The City of Austin’s Chief Innovation Officer Carry O’conner said she felt validated by the panel, saying the homelessness problem needs to be answered by creative solutions along with more funding, ideas and people to back it up.

One of her ideas is digitizing and block chaining homeless people’s documents. She says a missing government document can come between a person about to get into a home and leave them on the street until that document is produced. She says the county court also spends thousands of dollars reissuing identification papers to homeless people that lose it for one reason or another. 

Through the block chaining, O’Conner hopes to make it easier on everyone. 

(Photo:Shutterstock/Philip Arno Photography)

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