The City of Austin is considering building a mobile home park to house homeless people at North Burnet Road and Braker Lane. Kevin Wier, Development Committee Chair, has been following this issue for the neighborhood. He has prepared this summary. Additional information is available in the December 2010 newsletter.
• An organization called Mobile Loaves and Fishes wants to build an RV/trailer park on city owned property to hold 100 RV’s and trailers and permanently house “chronically homeless” people. There is a federal government definition of “chronically homeless”.
• This Burnet/Braker location is one of two locations the city is considering. The city would lease the land to MLF for $1/year. One criterion is access to public transportation.
• The city has said this proposed project is part of their plan to deal with the 1,000 permanently homeless people living in Austin. The city also has their own plans to build permanent housing for homeless people. There are also other organizations in Austin that work to address the needs of homeless people. This would not be a “fix and return” model, but a place for people to live permanently. The Mobile Loaves and Fishes goal is to give these people dignity and get them off the streets.
• City of Austin said the final decision on this project will be made by city council in a public meeting. I have contacted the city representative to learn when this vote will occur; I haven’t received a response yet.
• Chronically homeless people living in the proposed project would undergo a background screening. There would be no registered sex offenders admitted. Chronically homeless by definition means people have a physical, mental, or addiction disability. There would be no families or children living in the proposed project. There would be rules of conduct for living in the project, but Mobile Loaves and Fishes cannot stop the inhabitants from panhandling, etc. They would have counseling services on location, a food pantry, medical clinic, a garden and chickens for the people to raise some of their own food.
• City of Austin says there is no zoning changes needed for the property.
More Information can be found on the North Austin Coalition of Neighborhoods website: http://northaustin.weebly.com/homeless-rv-park.html