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Austin Area Urban League hosts unhoused community panel to address homelessness

The panel consisted of a handful of ambassadors from across the city living with housing insecurity.

AUSTIN, Texas — An event all about sustainability and the environment was also intertwined with the fight to end homelessness.

At Earth Day ATX hosted at Huston-Tillotson University, the Austin Area Urban League had an unhoused panel with the hope that people's lived experiences would raise awareness.

The panel consisted of a group of ambassadors from across the city living with housing insecurity, like Luke Curry.

"I step up and do the best I can because I give it, I go back and I give it to the people that need it," Curry said.

Yasmine Smith with the Austin Area Urban League said it's important to discuss the challenges people who don't have a home face due to environmental impacts.

RELATED: Austin outreach groups helping homeless stay warm, fed amid freezing temperatures

"While we're talking about being good stewards of the earth, let's look at our neighbors who are directly more impacted by our choices," Smith said. 

Every person on the council, like Curry, gives recommendations and then Smith said they take those recommendations to local and state lawmakers. 

"You have an actual human being, your brother and sister looking at you and say, 'These are the real things I deal with. I'm still human. I just fell on hard times,'" Smith said. 

Curry said there are a lot of misconceptions about homelessness. 

RELATED: 'A life-or-death situation': Homeless service providers drive into camps, raise money for hotel stays

"When you come around, it's like they get uncomfortable because they don't know. They don't know what our intentions are because we're homeless, we don't have nowhere to go," Curry said.

While there is a lot of work to be done, Curry believes everyone can play a role in ending homelessness. 

"If you want people in your neighborhood, step up and help them and then they get out your neighborhood, right?" Curry said. 

For information about the Austin Area Urban League, click here.

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