Austin City Council District 1 race: Here’s where candidates stand on the issues

SARAH ASCH Published October 11, 2022

Article edited for brevity, includes only candidate stances on public safety issues.

The American-Statesman surveyed the candidates in the upcoming Austin City Council District 1 race to get their positions on some of the key issues facing the city and their district.

Here are the candidates’ responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity:

Natasha Harper-Madison, incumbent 

What is something you would change about the city’s policies on homelessness?

We must work harder to address the root causes that lead to homelessness. Criminalizing vulnerable and marginalized members of our community does not fix the problem. Increasing access to affordable mental health care resources and substance abuse recovery programs is essential, but not every homeless person is mentally ill or a drug addict. Many unhoused people and families have just had a run of unfortunate luck and need a little bit of stability and help getting back on their feet. We must identify and recognize the variety of different circumstances that lead to homelessness. Only then we can begin to effectively address them. We must provide our unhoused with a safe and stable environment and do so in a manner that will help them to eventually get into homes and live independently again. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon issue.  Many other cities around our nation are facing similar issues.  But a common theme we have seen is that it is only in helping the unhoused address the issues that led to their homelessness – not in turning to punitive action – that we can find a solution that truly gets people off the street and sustainably into homes.