Texas - The Austin City Council voted today to purchase one hotel and turn it into 60 units of permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. The vote to purchase a second hotel has been postponed to next week after a city council member asked for more time to gather feedback from her constituents. Under the measure, the city will spend approximately $6.7 million from its Housing and Planning Department’s general obligation bonds to acquire one hotel and use some money from a recurring $6.5 million fund taken from the police department’s budget to provide services to the residents of the hotel.
The Austin City Council voted early Friday to make paid sick leave a mandatory requirement for all non-government employers, making Austin the first city in Texas to regulate sick leave. The highly anticipated vote came after more than 200 people testified at City Hall, with a large majority in favor of the ordinance. It passed 9-2 with council members Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair against. “For me, so much of this is about widening inequality and our fight against it,” said Council Member Greg Casar, the author and lead proponent of the ordinance. The vote was greeted with thunderous applause and singing as the council adopted a compromise ordinance Casar offered Thursday that addressed many concerns brought forward by Council Member Jimmy Flannigan and others earlier this week.
By Ed Mazza for The Huffington Post - The Austin Police Department has launched an investigation following the release of a video that shows an officer apparently pepper-spraying a handcuffed suspect. The video, posted on YouTube by local police watchdog group Peaceful Streets Project, shows an officer opening the door to the back of a police van last week during the South by Southwest Festival. “What’d I tell you about kicking the door?” the officer says to the subject inside.
For Harriet: What inspired you to start Austin While Black? Doyin: There was a lot of talk about gentrification in Austin late 2013 or 2014. There were a lot of articles about it and we were like, "Yeah there are not a lot of Black people in the city." We wanted to approach it from a journalistic video standpoint of "What is another part of the story?" and "Who are the Black people who are still here in Austin?" FH: Gentrification is so real. My family moved here to Charlotte seven years ago and I remember the area we lived in was not that nice at all, and now they have all of these fancy restaurants and ritzy things opening up. It's really weird. D: Is there a vegan restaurant nearby? That's another sign you've been gentrified. [laughs]