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Austin Leaders Backpedal Like Crazy After Only 50 Days of Liberal Homeless Policy Leads to Disaster

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It didn’t even take 60 days. On July 1, the notoriously liberal city of Austin, Texas, began allowing the homeless to sit, lie down and camp in public spaces.

Now, 50 days later, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and city council members Kathie Tovo and Ann Kitchen are trying to undo the damage and hoping a six-page proposal will deal with the homeless openly camping in public.

One of the proposal’s goals, the mayor claimed, is to protect public safety, according to WOAI-TV.

Since July 1, locals have seen more homeless camps pop up, which, in turn, are creating risks to public health and safety, WOAI reported.

“I’ve lived in Austin my whole life and my beautiful city is a mess, and I hate it,” local Kim Vonsermuellen said.

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The new proposal would bring some restrictions back like limiting homeless bivouacking and loitering near roadways, sidewalks, schools and childcare facilities, waterways, and areas with lots of pedestrians, among other locations.

In addition to bringing back some location limitations, the proposal also limits the size of tents and structures the homeless use for shelter and the volume of their belongings.

Austin is far from the only leftist municipality in the U.S. being inundated with homelessness. Los Angeles and San Francisco are arguably facing crisis situations as homeless camps act as incubators for diseases that go on to threaten public health.

Forbes reported in June that medieval diseases are making a return, only this time they’re not starting in Europe. Instead, they’re starting in what was once America’s own promised land — California.

Flea and feces born diseases are spreading. Typhus, TB, hepatitis and typhoid are all on the upswing in LA. San Francisco, meanwhile, appears to be covered in feces (at least if you believe this map from nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group Open the Books).

California, on the whole, is home to 30 percent of all homeless individuals in the U.S. and just shy of half of all “sheltered individuals.” That gives the notoriously liberal state a homelessness rate about two and a half times the national rate.

To add a little more perspective, Louisiana, with a population of roughly 4.5 million, is arguably the poorest state in the Union. Louisiana also has roughly 450 chronically homeless individuals according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. California has roughly 40 million citizens, 33,000 of whom are chronically homeless.

In California, roughly 1 in every 1,200 people is chronically homeless. In Louisiana, roughly 1 in every 8,900 are chronically homeless.

Looked at another way, if Louisiana had the same population size as California, it would have 4,000 chronically homeless compared to California’s roughly 33,000.

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So what explains that giant gulf? Why does one of the poorest states in the U.S. absolutely trounce one of the richest when it comes to homelessness?

First, smaller communities, like the ones found in higher proportions in more rural states, tend to look after their own better. It’s harder to fall through the cracks when everyone knows you — or at least knows your cousin. Individuals, families and even law enforcement can step in and provide support.

Second, churches and local charities make a difference. I come from a town of about 25,000 in the Deep South. It is poor and a high proportion of its citizens are under-educated. Yet there was only one homeless man townspeople regularly saw. Why? Because there was a Christian mission that helped dozens of others who would have been homeless but for the mission’s intervention.

Third, and this will sound harsh, homelessness is still stigmatized instead of being normalized. For the individual, the idea of not being able to provide for himself is incredible motivation.

I grew up working in construction. I knew some very poor men, but I never knew any of them to be homeless. Drink or drugs beset almost all of them, but they worked. And for the town itself, the idea of an overflowing homeless population was embarrassing.

Giant cities that boast tech startups, industrial behemoths, avant-garde art scenes and real estate for the ultra-rich have lots to brag about. Small, middle-class towns have only their main streets and decent citizenry to take pride in. The cost of tolerating homelessness is much higher in those smaller municipalities.

Finally, in smaller cities, public focus isn’t necessarily on changing the world — it’s on helping locals. I can’t recall any charity events back home raising funds to save the rain forests, stop GMO corn in Africa or decrease carbon footprints. I remember charity events to help support the local mission and the local hospital.

Leftism uses identity politics to create political castes, and castes worry about themselves, not others. Conservatism, on the other hand, encourages individuality that, ironically, supports community better because conservatives believe in directly helping others, working to create stable families and communities, and holding each other accountable.

Liberal bastions like California (and to a lesser extent Austin) might be nice to visit, but your chances of avoiding grinding poverty are a heck of a lot better away from those leftist cultures and closer to traditional, conservative American culture.

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Josh Manning is deputy managing editor, assignment, at The Western Journal. He holds a masters in public policy from Harvard University and has a background in higher education.
Josh Manning grew up outside of Memphis, TN and developed a love of history, politics, and government studies thanks to a life-changing history and civics teacher named Mr. McBride.

He holds an MPP from Harvard University and a BA from Lyon College, a small but distinguished liberal arts college where he also served as an interim vice president.

While in school he did everything possible to confront, discomfit, and drive ivy league liberals to their knees.

After a number of years working in academe, he moved to digital journalism and opinion. Since that point, he has held various leadership positions at The Western Journal and now serves as editor-at-large.

He's married to a gorgeous blonde who played in the 1998 NCAA women's basketball championship game, and he has two pre-teens who hate doing dishes more than poison. He makes life possible for two boxers -- "Hank" Rearden Manning and "Tucker" Carlson Manning -- and a pitbull named Nikki Haley "Gracie" Manning.
Education
MPP from Harvard University, BA from Lyon College
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, tiny fragments of college French
Topics of Expertise
Writing, politics, Christianity, social media curation, higher education, firearms




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