On Monday, Mayor Adler proposed a solution to the Downtown Puzzle, his name for the interconnected and geographically contiguous challenges in the eastern part of downtown Austin. After months of discussions with community groups represented at a City Hall press conference, the Mayor proposed harnessing downtown economic activity, including an expansion of the convention center, to raise $30 million for permanent supportive housing for the homeless and create an ongoing funding stream to address homelessness that starts at about $4 million a year until 2021 when it doubles. The Mayor’s proposal, which requires Council action, does not include any property tax increase.
“We have figured out how to put the Downtown Puzzle together by making tourists pay to house the homeless and by harnessing the power of Austin to benefit all Austinites. This plan won’t raise your property taxes, will expand our tax base, and makes a big down payment on the moral imperative to house the homeless,” said Mayor Adler.
New multi-year grant of up to $1.5 million will be awarded to help Austin tackle homelessness
Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies recognized the city of Austin as a new member of its Innovation Team program, which helps City Halls drive bold innovation, change culture, and tackle big problems to deliver better results for residents. Austin was selected from a pool of municipalities with a demonstrated commitment to designing and delivering bold solutions to solve homelessness. Other cities selected for the global program include Be’er Sheva, Israel; Toronto, Canada, and Anchorage, AK; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; and Durham; NC in the United States.
Currently in the third round of funding, the program will allow Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council to fund an in-house innovation team, or “i-team”, to pioneer new approaches on homelessness.
“This grant will help us tackle problems in new ways that reflect who we are in Austin, and I’m excited to see what can come from this,” said Mayor Adler. “When we effectively ended veteran homelessness, we learned how effective new partnerships between the business community, philanthropists and non-profits could be. Bloomberg’s grant will allow our Innovation Office to experiment with new ways to house the homeless.” Continue reading