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Solutions to homelessness exist – they require scaling up social services and housing programs, including the pathways from shelter to housing. To date, Austin has not identified adequate funding to address this challenge. How would you work to identify the funding needed?

Justin Jacobson

City Council, District 3

Funding to combat homelessness will have to come from a combination of sources. As council has recently done, we should always be looking to find extra dollars from the general revenue. Homelessness exacts a high toll on our public safety dollars, so it would reasonably follow that a portion of those funds could be redirected to combat this issue at its root. There is a mounting body of evidence that these dollars spent early on carry a lower cost burden and prove more effective in outcomes then sending folks through a revolving door that our criminal justice system becomes. We should also evaluate the potential of any development impact fees that could be directed to alleviate the current challenge. The role of transitional housing cannot be understated in its ability to help folks out. When we look to utilizes dollars from The Housing Trust Fund, we need to make sure we are including it for stock of this kind along with deeply affordable unit for those at the bottom of the income latter. Additionally, parameters of any density bonus program could include some number of units for transitional housing in tandem with other affordable units and make a higher priced fee-in-lieu for the non inclusion of transitional units. Through these means we can procure the physical assets that would allow funds to fight homelessness be directed more towards services. There’s money in the budget, creative ways in bring in new revenue streams, and potential to build the physical assets that will help folks.