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In Austin, people experiencing homelessness are criminalized for sitting, resting, and trying to survive

AUSTIN — A new report is shedding light on the rampant criminalization of people experiencing homelessness in Austin. And advocates are saying the city can do much better

The research, a collaboration between Gathering Ground Theater and Grassroots Leadership, shows how widespread the problem is in Austin. Among other findings, this new research shows that people experiencing homelessness in downtown experience a high level of criminalization. From the report:

The individuals we surveyed were issued an average of 5.7 tickets under the ordinances that criminalize homelessness over the course of the year preceding the date of the survey. The results demonstrate high levels of police harassment and avoidance of police among folks experiencing homelessness.

Read more about In Austin, people experiencing homelessness are criminalized for sitting, resting, and trying to survive

Unconstitutional? Austin ordinance that criminalizes people experiencing homelessness goes on trial Friday

New research from Grassroots Leadership and Gathering Ground Theater shows there are many people like Gary who are experiencing homelessness and repeatedly ticketed by police, resulting in unhealthy, unsustainable situations

AUSTIN — Gary Bowens has been repeatedly ticketed for having no place to go. Like many people in Austin experiencing homelessness, Gary is subject to regular police enforcement of the local “No Camping” ordinance, which criminalizes people for storing personal belongings in public areas, sleeping in a vehicle, or otherwise appearing to be living in public.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found in Martin v. City of Boise that a similar law in Boise, ID, was in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th amendment prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment because, “It imposes criminal sanctions against homeless individuals for sleeping outdoors, on public property, when no alternative shelter is available to them...”

A new report by Gathering Ground Theater and Grassroots Leadership shows how widespread the problem is in Austin. Unfortunately, Gary’s story is not unique. Among other findings, this new research shows that people experiencing homelessness in downtown experience a high level of criminalization. Read more about Unconstitutional? Austin ordinance that criminalizes people experiencing homelessness goes on trial Friday

TODAY: Rally at 11am in front of Rep. Castro’s San Antonio office calling on him to be a champion for immigrants in sanctuary

SAN ANTONIO —  Members of the San Antonio community will be joining the Austin Sanctuary Network at a rally today at Rep. Joaquín Castro's office calling for discretion sanctuary leadership Alirio Gámez and Hilda Ramirez.    

Who: Hilda Ramirez, Alirio Gámez, San Antonio community members,  the Austin Sanctuary Network, and the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry Read more about TODAY: Rally at 11am in front of Rep. Castro’s San Antonio office calling on him to be a champion for immigrants in sanctuary

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