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GOP Gov. Abbott and Dem Mayor Adler Publicly Clashing over Homeless Crisis in Texas Capital

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is demanding that the city of Austin act to address the issue of violence linked to its growing homeless population.

Austin, with a population of about 950,000, has about 2,500 people who are officially counted as homeless, NPR reported, athough Mayor Steve Adler told Fox News that about 7,000 homeless people pass through Austin at some time during the year. Last June, Austin ended a ban on camping within the city limits, then in October sought to limit the areas where the homeless would be allowed to camp.

However, in recent weeks, homeless individuals have been linked to a number of crimes.

In early January, a homeless man died after committing a series of knife attacks, one of which caused a fatality, according to ABC.

Last week, a fire at a vast camp under a bridge used by homeless individuals shut down the roadway above for hours, KVUE reported.

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Last month, a homeless woman was arrested after a series of stabbing in downtown Austin, KVUE reported. Abbott sounded off after that attack.

“City of Austin leaders have allowed lawlessness throughout the capital city that is resulting in violence against Austin residents, including those who are homeless,” Abbott said then.

“Last night’s tragedy, leaving three injured, is just the most recent instance of this violence. This rise in violence has corresponded with the revocation of the camping ban that the Austin City Council passed in June. Public endangerment and murder can no longer be tolerated because of the actions — and inactions — by City officials. Mayor Adler and the city council should re-instate the camping ban and restore the rule of law in Austin. The City’s gamble on these reckless policies has been a loser and must end now,” he said.

Should Gov. Abbott take action to combat the homelessness problem in Austin?

A few days later, another stabbing was reported, and another homeless individual was reportedly responsible, according to KEYE, triggering Abbott to tweet that if the city will not act, he will ask the state legislature to do so when it convenes next year.

“Yet ANOTHER stabbing in downtown Austin. Austin’s policies are not compassionate for the homeless or anyone else. Their policies are dangerous for everyone. You can expect the legislature to once again override Austin’s reckless policies,” he tweeted.

Another tweet offered a recipe for fixing the problem.

“Fixing homelessness in ATX is easy. 1. Put public safety first. 2. Open large shelters that can accommodate > 200 people. 3. Provide mental health, drug addiction help + job training skills. 4. Then focus on long term housing. Austin doesn’t have the leadership to do this,” he tweeted.

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Abbott later tweeted that if the city won’t act, he would have to.

“Next step should be to reinstate the ban on camping and work with non-profit organizations to assist with shelters. That’s exactly what I will ask the Texas Legislature to do,” he wrote.

Unsurprisingly, Adler has pushed back against Abbott’s comments.

“It’s similar to making the statement that immigrants are criminals. Neither of things are true. Both of them are false and harmful,” he said, noting that the city will spend $63 million to help the homeless.

“The city has identified dealing with the challenge of homelessness as the number one priority,” Adler said. “A lot of it is money helping to subsidize places for people to be, coming up with vouchers for hotels, providing rental assistance, providing programs to people before they become homeless.”

But one Austin resident said incidents with the homeless happen “all the time.”

“It’s a problem, I think there are definitely things that we need to do to help the situation,” Candace Cooper told Fox.

Fox News identified the Austin resident as both Candace Copper and Candace Cooper. The Western Journal chose to identify her as Cooper, that being the more common last name. — Ed. note

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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