5 things you can do before #HomesNotHandcuffs vote on June 20th

On June 20th, the Austin City Council will vote on an ordinance that will effectively reduce the criminalization of the homeless community in Austin. While the vote is two weeks away, here are five things you can do to spread support:

1. Show off your poster-making skills tomorrow, June 6th 

Time: 6-9pm

Location: Austin City Hall

Thursday evening, the Homes Not Handcuffs coalition will make posters, workshop testimonies, and film the testimonies of those unable to attend on the 20th.

From the Facebook event description

We will be using this City Council meeting as an opportunity to get more organized - our opposition will be working hard to defeat the repeal of these ordinances, so we need to use these last two weeks as a final sprint towards victory. If you are able to come and would like an update on the campaign including how you can get involved, there will be a full report given at this gathering.

2. Call your city council member 

Call your Austin City Council member and urge them to vote YES on our ordinance on June 20th. Homelessness is not a crime and our Austin residents should not be punished for trying to survive.

You can find who your council member is here: http://www.austintexas.gov/page/city-council-district-map

3. Sign the petition

By signing the petition, you'll be able to send an email to all members of the Austin City Council, as well as Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Here is an excerpt:

People who experience homelessness are already vulnerable to crime and violence, and these ordinances make them even more vulnerable. From Fiscal Year 2014 to 2016, approximately 11,500 warrants were issued for violations of these ordinances. People with warrants are often hesitant to call for help in case of an emergency due to credible fear of arrest. Municipal arrest warrants are particularly problematic for undocumented Austin residents, who can end up as targets for deportation under the Trump administration’s guidelines and who can receive ICE holds if arrested on the warrants.

You can read the full petition here.

4. Canvassing on June 8th with Austin DSA

Time: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: Dunkin' Donuts—12200 Research Blvd, Austin, Texas 78759

Because the vote is just two weeks away, we need folks to hit the streets and gather support to put an end to the criminalization of this community. 

From the Facebook event description:

Please join us in a canvass asking folks to urge city council to overturn these immoral ordinances. No canvassing experience or prior knowledge necessary - we will pair new folks with experienced canvassers, and we will have a training on the ordinances and talking points at the beginning. We have the chance to right an egregious wrong in our city - let's step up in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness.

5. Share this blog and our events on social media!

Follow Grassroots Leadership on our social media handles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for more updates.

Here is the audit report from the City of Austin on city policies related to homelessness

Also, check out this op-Ed from the Austin-American Statesman on why we must decriminalize homelessness in Austin

To learn more about how these ordinances impact homeless folks in our community, check out our participatory action research report!

For homes, and not handcuffs!