BREAKING: Austin is one of 35 Champion Cities selected today as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to uncover new ideas for the toughest problems cities face.
Austin proposes to use blockchain technology to provide homeless residents with a unique identifier that allows them to access their personal records at any time, enabling access to critical services. For those experiencing homelessness in Austin, lack of ID can mean barriers to, or delays in, their access to housing, employment, and other services critical to dignity, support, and recovery. Imagine if, instead of experiencing broken hand-offs from hospitals to respite care or from substance abuse recovery programs to shelter that adversely impact recovery, a client is able to provide access to their digital passport which has an auditable account of what happens next in the system of care. Blockchain would make data easily available across different social service and healthcare organizations to help service delivery personnel frustrated by working with incomplete information and provide more consistent and reliable access to those experiencing homelessness. Austin is one of 35 US cities competing for the grand prize – others include Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.
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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.
As federal lawmakers discuss repeal of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, Mayor Adler is joining with his colleagues across the country today to urge Congress to consider the serious impact that losing healthcare coverage would have on millions of Americans.
Mayor Adler is participating in today’s NATIONAL MAYORS’ DAY OF ACTION, which involves mayors in cities from coast-to-coast hosting meetings and/or events with federal, state and local leaders, small businesses and community groups to stress the critical importance of preserving access to affordable healthcare.