Council to take action on anti-Muslim hate speech, affordable housing initiative

(CBS Austin)

The Austin City Council Thursday will meet to discuss a packed agenda. Among the items up for a vote, a resolution to protect Central Texas Muslims and a resolution to build affordable housing for city, county and Austin ISD staff.

The first would condemn violence and hate speech against Muslims or anyone else targeted by ethnicity, race or religion.

The resolution outlines the history of Muslims in the United States and the importance of immigrants of all faiths in the foundation of the country. It also mentions backlash against Muslim-Americans after September 11 in the form of hate crimes and employment discrimination.

Finally, the resolution says it's up to elected officials to protect the civil rights and safety of those they serve, and the council is concerned by politicians who encourage anti-Muslim rhetoric in order to gain power.

The affordable housing initiative involves a partnership among Travis County, the City of Austin and Austin ISD. It looks to build affordable housing for lower-wage workers of all three entities.

Thursday, the City Council will vote on whether to move forward with their portion of the partnership.

The housing would be built on property already owned by one of the three entities.

"There are such great benefits when people live close to their work and right now we do, unfortunately, have employees at all three of our entities who aren't making enough to really live easily in Austin," Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo said.

If council, Travis County and AISD all approve their roles in the initiative, they will move forward with a specific plan on who will qualify and where it would go.