After nearly a decade of starts and stops, Alan Graham’s vision for a community to house hundreds of homeless people is very close to becoming reality. This week, it cleared the last major governmental hurdle when Travis County commissioners gave the proposal a green light. The planned community by Mobile Loaves & Fishes could be open and ready for its first wave of residents by the end of 2014.
The need for such a project is evident from figures on homelessness: There are about 1,000 chronically homeless people in Austin and an estimated 6,000 in Travis County. Nonetheless, the proposal by Mobile Loaves & Fishes has been — and continues to be — controversial, drawing opposition from property owners who don’t want the community situated in or near their neighborhoods. The unanimous vote by county commissioners supporting the proposal might not quell all objections, but it sends a strong and needed message that Travis County will not turn its back on people who need an opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness and pull themselves up.
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