These Safety Measures were presented by Council Member Greg Casar’s office, and are recommended to budget improvements to help public safety in District 4. Please share this information via your network, and consider reaching out to the Mayor and other City Council Members to support these action items.
To address safety concerns and the issues of homelessness, District 4 CM Greg Casar held a district meeting on Aug. 1 and proposed budget items on the agenda of the Council’s budget hearings on Aug. 22 and 28.. We discussed that in addition to the over 80 sworn EMS professionals, nearly 70 new firefighters, and over 80 new police officers that have been added by the Council since fiscal year 2016 (and in addition to more staff in the next budget) there is still a need for public safety resources that prevent dangerous situations, rather than simply responding to 911 calls after something has already occurred. One resource that does this is the City’s 12 Community Health Paramedics who help intervene with persons with substance abuse, mental health, homelessness and other issues. These paramedics go out into the field—before a 911 call has even occurred– and connect vulnerable people to resources such as medical care, mental health care, prescriptions, and housing, thereby increasing the safety and health of the individual and the entire community. The current team is too small to cover some of the areas of most urgent need in North Austin as well as other parts of the city.
Also, the SAFE Alliance also provides shelter for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking and sexual abuse. According to police data, domestic violence is one of the most significant drivers of violent crime in our area. These resources serve to supplement Police/EMS/Fire responses and relieve them of the time that it takes to deal with these health and safety issues. SAFE Alliance’s Bridge to Safety program will no longer have any funds if Council does not vote to continue it. The budget proposals include: $138,000 for Bridge to Safety for SAFE Alliance, and $600,000 to add 6 more Community Health Paramedics.
District 4 desperately needs these services to deal with homelessness and domestic violence, as do other city districts, and the expansion of the Community Health Paramedic Program and the continuation of Bridge to Safety are possible through our advocacy.
For more information, see the attached document. To promote these budget proposals, please contact your Council Member, disseminate the information to your neighborhood associations, talk to businesses in your area, and if you have a story to tell regarding the positive effects of these services contact CM Casar’s office.
In addition to these proposals, there are other health and safety investments being made in our area through last year’s budget and this year’s coming budget such as:
Pedestrian and vehicle safety:
Thanks to bond dollars to be invested from the last year’s budget and in this coming year’s budget, new signals are being installed along North Lamar at Powell Lane, Cooper Drive, Grady Drive, and Fairfield Drive, along with changes to make the intersection at Payton Gin more safe.
Homelessness issues: CM Casar and the whole City Council have prioritized homelessness in our community as their number one budget priority. CM Casar will be supporting an unprecedented level of commitment by the City to provide housing and services to address homelessness in this year’s budget. This includes staffing and opening two new shelters in South Austin and East Austin, providing historic levels of permanent supportive housing, and critical services to get people off the streets and into safer locations.
Sobriety: The City will finally fully fund the Sobering Center to address current issues of public intoxication and the need for rehabilitation.