AUSTIN - The squawking symbol of the city's homeless community years ago took flight again Monday.
In the 1980s, Homer the goose was just a gosling when homeless activists bought him and threatened to eat him unless city officials met with them to discuss the homeless crisis.
Homer became an international sensation. The goose died in March 2015, but after being stuffed, the mascot's memory and mission lives on.
Outside the Faulk library downtown, dozens without a place to call home sit, watch and wait as the world rolls by. Inside, with wings spread and bow tie on tight, Homer the stuffed goose commands attention.
"Wait a minute, that's Homer the goose, ha ha," laughed David Golden, who has lived in Austin for most of his life. He remembers how Homer honked his way into Austin and the world's heart.
"He was like an activist for the homeless" Golden said. "He was an animal that made a difference to human beings and everything."
Valerie Romness is one of Homer's handlers. They're taking him on tour to educate people about being homeless, even putting out a suggestion box for ideas on what can be done to help those who need it.
"His message today still stands as it was back then," Romness said.
Right now, there are more than 2,300 homeless people living on Austin streets or in shelters.
So Homer is hitting the road, and his all-star tour will take him to libraries, churches and schools around the city. First, Homer and his road crew made a quick stop by the Willie Nelson statue to take pictures. It didn't take long before this golden goose is recognized by a crowd of tourists.
It's a humorous symbol for a very real problem, and Homer's handlers hope this web-footed ambassador will shine a brighter spotlight on the issue of homelessness in Austin.
Homer is now on display at the Manchacha branch of the Austin Public Library. His tour around town is being sponsored by the Challenger newspaper, which publishes news and literary pieces for the homeless community.
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