APD Chief Acevedo wants homeless out of downtown

APD Chief Acevedo wants homeless out of downtown

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Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo wants homeless people and the organizations that help them out of the downtown entertainment district.

Acevedo believes the more than 4,000 people who are homeless soak up police resources. He believes they along with organizations that provide services and shelter to them like the Salvation Army, Caritas, and the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless need to be moved from downtown.

The chief shared his views at a press conference Wednesday morning during a press conference. Acevedo was asked about repeat offenders who are homeless.

"We have the largest bar district right here along 6th street," Acevedo said. "It goes basically all the way to Mopac. It has grown that much.

"Let's put Caritas, let's put the ARCH, let's put the Salvation Army right adjacent to this huge district. It has beer readily available and booze readily available it's probably not a good mixture."

"I hadn't heard that perspective. I certainly have great respect for our Chief of Police so we'll have to agree to disagree on that point," said City Council member Kathie Tovo.

She says there's no discussion on moving the services.

"We have a very large city and we need to have services available in different parts and those services are well used downtown and they need to stay there," said Tovo.

Bob Woody is a business owner and President of the East 6th Street Community Association.

"The chief identifies that in their position with it being a revolving door it's really clustering up what they're doing over there which makes it difficult for them to do their job," said Woody.

He says his heart goes out to the homeless in the entertainment district. But like the police chief, he would like to see them moved to another location.

"If it was providing a service that was rehabbing the people that went there and inviting them to join and become part of it and then reenter society then I would support it," said Woody.

For organizations that help the homeless, they don't agree with the police chief and are glad the city is seeing things their way.

"There's no plan to move the location of the important service providers including the Austin Resource Center for the homeless," said David Evans with Austin Travis County Integral Care.

Supporters say they are part of the community and will stay downtown.

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