One Voice Central Texas Statement on Prop A (2021)
One Voice Central Texas is a coalition of more than one hundred local nonprofits who represent the community’s network of human services that connect people to the social resources, opportunities, and supports they need to thrive. Our members provide the building blocks to safe neighborhoods and streets. We do this through:
- Providing workforce skills that give individuals a sense of purpose and access to employment;
- Addressing mental health and substance use disorders;
- Providing mental and behavioral health counseling services;
- Providing prevention and intervention programs to end domestic violence;
- Providing anti-bullying programs in schools;
- Helping our reentry population adjust and become contributing members of society; and
- Providing the opportunity for individuals of all ages to achieve their educational goals
City officials report that The City of Austin will have to reduce their support to social services and other City departments in order to meet the budget requirements for Prop A.
Human services investments are cost effective. They decrease burden on other parts of the city budget. Effective mental health and substance use intervention and treatment improve overall health and reduce homelessness and criminal justice involvement. Juvenile violence peaks in the afterschool hours on school days and in the evenings on non-school days. Out-of-school programs reduce violence when readily available and accessible through public support. Diverting a young adult transitioning out of foster care from the criminal justice system saves $2.5 million in incarceration, arrest, and other costs. Providing permanent supportive housing to the individuals experiencing homelessness saves the taxpayer money: Healthcare costs are reduced by 59%, emergency department costs are decreased by 61%, and the number of general inpatient hospitalizations is decreased by 77%.
Public safety requires collaboration between law enforcement, the social sector, and the community. Prop A has the potential for substantial unintended consequences that could upset the delicate balance we have now that keeps us one of the safest cities in the nation. As you make your vote in the November 2nd election, consider what public safety means to you.
One Voice Central Texas