Austin Diverts Funds From Police Budget to Substance Abuse Care Initiatives

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The Austin City Council approved a measure last month to expand substance use care in the city by providing nearly $1.5 million in funding to substance abuse social service initiatives, with roughly $1 million in funding coming from the police department’s budget, reports The Appeal. The money will be used to hire additional social and healthcare workers, expand evening and weekend hours at a drop-in clinic, create a new mobile outreach clinic, and fund a residential treatment program for pregnant and parenting women seeking help with substance use. Under the new proposal, the city will award contracts to three social service agencies to provide substance use treatment to low-income individuals.  In August, Austin voted to immediately cut over $20 million from the department’s budget, with most of that money coming from canceling cadet classes, reducing overtime spending and eliminating contracts for supplies like license plate readers.

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