Homelessness has been a major issue in Austin for many years, and the rate of chronic homelessness in Travis County is nearly double that of the state and the United States. Despite the fact that the gender is mostly male and 50% female in Travis County, the majority of homeless people are men. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of homeless people lived in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs, while the rest lived on the street, under bridges, in cars, or in abandoned buildings. Across the country, the number of homeless people has decreased by 14.4% over the past decade, with 170 out of every 100,000 people becoming homeless. Matt Mackowiak, co-founder of Save Austin Now, is against allowing homeless people to be housed in public spaces and thus created a petition that led to the prohibition of camping being re-listed on the ballot.
In the coming years, ECHO will continue to conduct a mass grave count required by HUD to distribute necessary supplies to homeless people, engage volunteers to support their homeless neighbors, and assess current community needs that may not be covered by HMIS. The path to and from homelessness is different for each person and includes both individual and systemic factors. Departments that do collect comprehensive data on the people they serve have observed an overrepresentation of cases involving homelessness or in which a homeless person is involved. Although Texas is fourth in terms of having the largest homeless population with 23,548 homeless people, its homeless rate is lower than the national average with only 90 out of every 100,000 people experiencing homelessness. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 on our economy, an even greater increase in the number of individuals and families becoming homeless could be seen. Over the past year, many Austinites have noticed an increase in visibility of homeless people without shelter.
Before winter storm Uri hit Austin City Council bought two additional hotels to accommodate the homeless before re-including the camping ban on the ballot; however Austin is going through a serious financial crisis.