AUSTIN (KXAN) — One group said the increase in people living on the streets downtown has hurt many businesses. That comes during more than a year of challenges tied to the pandemic.
“There’s certainly some challenges, obviously, as the city grows and gets bigger,” said Ellis Winstanley, co-owner and president of El Arroyo.
Serving Austin for nine years, Winstanley has witnessed its growth. One of those challenges: homelessness.
“I’ve had a moment of that personally, but I’ve heard about it more from people working downtown,” said Winstanley, of safety concerns.
Other business owners feel more strongly.
In October, Downtown Austin Alliance surveyed nearly 2,000 residents, employees and visitors and found 75% of respondents said safety downtown had gotten worse over the last year, and most — 73% — wanted homelessness addressed.
“Since the ordinance has changed nearly two years ago, things have gotten way out of balance,” said Bill Brice, vice president of investor relations for Downtown Austin Alliance.
He said they can’t comment on Proposition B itself but said they’ve seen a negative impact since the public camping ban was first lifted in 2019.