Feature: Blacks and Homelessness

Damita Miller-Shanklin

Feature Story: Blacks and Homelessness

Damita Miller-Shanklin

Homelessness requires resilience especially when it is not by choice.  “At least 2,300 eviction filings were logged in total from April 2020 through December 2021, an average of just over 110 per month. However, 2,517 filings have been tracked so far in 2022—more than 50% of Travis County’s pandemic-era total in just three months. 

Source: https://tinyurl.com/2vxafsm6

It’s understood that many people we see on the street corner have made the choice to live that way. I worry about the women with children who have been displaced due to abusive situations, loss of a job, and evictions to name a few. The person who suffers from Mental illness and needs continued support. In Austin, the City Council has acknowledged that homelessness is a priority, not just for women and children but for all individuals experiencing homelessness.  Andrew Weber, a reporter with KUT Austin, reported on July 7, 2022, that Blacks in Austin are six times more likely to experience homelessness than Whites in Austin. Source: https://tinyurl.com/2vxafsm6 

Solving the homelessness issue is not an easy one. There is no quick-fix solution. But what can a person do while the City of Austin works on a plan? In February 2018, ECHO, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, created a draft plan for the Austin City Council to review as possible options to consider for combating homelessness. The solutions that ECHO proposed were categorized into five areas as follows: Outreach and Shelter, Housing and Support Services, Addressing Disparities, System Effectiveness, and Community Commitment. To read more information about each area and review the whole plan, you can click the link https://tinyurl.com/35fkkccr.This draft plan is a start. I could not find any information indicating the plan was approved. 

I want to leave a few resources if you or someone you know needs assistance.

-Austin Shelter for Women and Children

– Caritas of Austin

-Salvation Army

-United Way for Greater Austin

These are just a few resources available to anyone who may need it. Homelessness is a community issue and an issue that affects cities and towns around the nation. For the people who need housing, we as a community have to find solutions that will work for different scenarios people find themselves in. The plan may not be one way fits all. 

What are your thoughts about the homeless situation in Austin? If you have an opinion, let me know.

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