I just had my sixth article out in the Austin Chronicle, both online and in print. This week, I wrote about successful efforts to get unhoused residents of an Austin encampment into temporary housing:
On March 25, city personnel moved 31 people living in a controversial encampment at St. Johns and I-35 into transitional housing at the Northbridge and Southbridge shelters, as part of the city’s HEAL (Homeless Encampment Assistance Link) initiative, adopted in the wake of last year’s local and state reinstatement of a ban on public camping.
For months, the encampment in and around St. John Neighborhood Park had generated concern among neighbors. On March 6, police shot and killed 28-year-old Miguel Ruiz Rivera, who lived periodically at the camp, after he had apparently been spotted firing a gun near one of the tents. At the same time, an outpouring of generosity from locals seeking to help unhoused neighbors inspired multiple fundraising campaigns and sustained volunteer efforts to feed, assist and, ultimately, house the campers before the city stepped in.
It’s nice to have some (at least mostly) good news to share. I originally wrote about this encampment in my first article for the Chronicle, so I’m happy to see that story come to a positive conclusion.
Unfortunately, a lack of space in this week’s issue meant some parts of this story got cut, including comments from Stop the Sweeps. I’ve written a little more in a Twitter thread & hope to share more here on my website.
I’ve also got an update to the trans rights struggle in Texas coming in an upcoming issue.