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ATX Helps approved to take over lease at state homeless camp

The organization hopes to build a new shelter on the Austin property that could house up to 300 people.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission unanimously approved a proposal allowing ATX Helps, a group driven by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Austin Alliance, to take over the state homeless camp lease.

This comes a week after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the State of Texas would be offering its five acres of shelter space for $1 per month.

The campsite, which was opened in early November, is currently owned by TxDOT. It sits on U.S. 183 about a mile south of Montopolis Drive.

ATX Helps has been working to establish Austin's first sprung shelter, which will be fully heated and can hold around 150 bunk beds. They hope to open the new shelter there this summer and provide more transportation to and from the area.

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Residents of the camp, who have named it Camp R.A.T.T., proposed to the governor a counteroffer last week, saying they would be happy to take over the lease themselves by offering $1 per person per month. Camp R.A.T.T. stands for reliable adult transition town.

Some residents of the camp told KVUE last week that they were OK with a new shelter being built on the property, while others said it could bring more chaos to the area where more than 100 people are currently living.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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