Police Chief Art Acevedo feels that Austin’s homeless and such organizations as Salvation Army, Caritas and the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless that provide them with shelter and services should get out of downtown and move elsewhere. And gets needlessly sarcastic about their presence in the center city entertainment district in an obviously uninformed statement reported by Fox News 7.It's one thing to say homeless service organizations should move somewhere else. But its not a serious suggestion until the chief informs us a) where he thinks they should move and b) by what authority he would compel them to do so. Past efforts to provide services elsewhere foundered when they ran up against inevitable NIMBYism. Will Acevedo now lead the charge to beat back NIMBY efforts to thwart relocating such facilities or pander to neighborhood interests who don't want them there? My money's on the latter.
"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."He does make a valid point that the homeless distract police from addressing other downtown crimes. But just because he says they should go doesn’t mean everyone should all salute and say, “Yes sir!”
A few years back before Acevedo came to Austin, a national advocacy group ranked Austin one of the "meanest" cities in America toward the homeless, with a spokesman declaring,"Austin basically made the list because there has been sort of a pattern of police harassment, harassing homeless people in the community." Acevedo's most recent comments perpetuate that perception.