The issue of homelessness in Texas has been on the rise, specifically in its capital of Austin.
According to the Washington Post, staunch Democrats in Austin have expressed a desire to switch parties purely out of the way the city has handled homelessness, which lately, includes allowing them to sleep anywhere they’d like:
But as Paul, 50, sprawled out shirtless on the sidewalk on a 100-degree day, shop owner Craig Staley stood a few feet away on Congress Avenue reconsidering his party affiliation.
“I got two emails last month from customers who said, ‘I can’t go to your store anymore because it smells like urine,’” said Staley, who operates Royal Blue Grocery. “I am a Democrat at heart; I have been in Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. But I am telling you, I am feeling a lot more red these days when it comes to my business.”
Over the past couple of months, Governor Greg Abbott has been giving the issue his personal attention and considering actions to take against the Democratic leadership of Austin for its allowance of homeless people to take over the streets. As he does this, Austin Mayor Steve Adler is going to California to talk to leaders who specialize in creating the problem for advice.
In fact, the policies surrounding the homeless in Austin look a lot like the kind seen in San Francisco and Los Angeles, both of which have a level of homeless so extreme that medieval diseases are making a comeback. This is on top of the mounting drug problem and excess of trash that litters the streets. In San Francisco, the homeless problem also comes with seeing an inordinate amount of used needles littering the sidewalk and a feces problem.
Austin seems to be heading in the same direction.
“They thought it would be compassionate and not a big deal, but it has been an absolute disaster for this city,” said Matt Mackowiak, chairman of the GOP party of Travis county according to WaPo. “This is our best example of [liberal] overreach, so we have been very strategic focusing on this issue.”
According to Austin’s homeless, California may be partly to blame for the rising tide.
“They said there is a waiting list of at least six months,” Curtis Underwood, a homeless man said. “I guess I need to get a job, but the rent is so expensive because all the people from California are moving here.”
As businesses move to Texas, it brings with them their coastal employees. The rent skyrockets, driving people into the streets. However, it may not just the economy doing so either. The rate at which the homeless are growing is monumental, and it may be that the homeless in California are hearing about the opportunities in Texas and are heading there themselves.
They’re heading there with the help of the state of California, no less.
According to a 2017 article from The Guardian, California has been bussing out its homeless problem for some time, essentially paying for bus tickets out of the state and sending them elsewhere, using America’s national bussing companies as a valve to release pressure on itself. Texas is likely one of them, especially with its business boom giving out of state officials the idea that warmer climes and better business opportunities may give them a good chance of getting back on their feet.
There has yet to be a hard count on the number of homeless people California has bussed to Texas, but we do know that California’s impoverished do like to migrate to the Lone Star State. A 2017 article from the Sacramento Bee shows that when it comes to those in California who live below the poverty line, most choose Texas:
The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.
All told, California lost about 260,000 economically disadvantaged residents to the 10 states with the lowest cost of living during that time period, compared to a net gain of about 40,000 from the 10 states (other than California) with the highest cost of living.
It’s not unreasonable to assume many of the homeless would choose a bus ticket out of town for the greener, job-filled pastures of Texas.
So we have Californians moving here to drive up the rent, Texas Democrats getting advice on how to handle it, and California likely bussing its homeless to Texas.