Williamson County files suit against City of Austin over plans for homeless hotel

Candlewood Suites northwest Austin homeless hotel
Photo credit File photo

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Williamson County has filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin, seeking to prevent a former hotel property owned by the city from being converted into permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness.

The move comes after the Austin City Council on Thursday approved a $3.9 million contract with Family Eldercare to fund renovations at the property, which is located at 10811 Pecan Park Boulevard.

The city purchased the property in August 2021 for $9 million, despite objections from neighbors and Williamson County leaders. The property has been vacant for much of the time since then; last month, it was discovered that vandals had broken into the property and stripped it of many fixtures and appliances, causing significant damage to the property.

"The City of Austin continues to show complete and utter disregard for the law, its neighbors, its citizens and community leaders as it barrels recklessly ahead with its plans for the permanent housing of the homeless at this location in Williamson County," said Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell in a statement. "The actions by the City of Austin have left no other options than to pursue legal action. Taking this action is necessary in order to protect Williamson County’s tax-paying, law-abiding citizens to whom the City of Austin has turned a deaf ear to and trampled on."

The agreement with Family Eldercare calls for the organization to renovate the hotel to provide 78 units of permanent supportive housing. City documents indicate the housing will be aimed at single adults with a documented chronic homelessness history and a disabling condition.

Under the terms of the agreement, Family Eldercare will provide onsite support services, including case management, service coordination, living skills training, housing stability support, assistance accessing basic needs, and community building activities.

The Williamson County lawsuit is seeking a temporary restraining order as well as a temporary and permanent injunction blocking the city and its non-profit entity, AHFC Pecan Park PSH, from creating homeless housing at the site.