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Though Dead, Homer the Goose Helps Homeless

It's a long, weird story

Sit right back, and you'll read a tale of how a goose helped homeless people in Austin. And how, apparently, he'll continue to do so after death.

The Austin Monitor reports that longtime Eastside activist Lori Renteria is raising $10,000 for a glass case and other tools needed to display a taxidermied goose in an effort to end homelessness.

Yes, you'll need a backstory: In the late 1980s, a group of homeless people living on the shores of what was then called Town (now Lady Bird) Lake decided they need a mascot, according to The Challenger Street Newspaper. The bought (some sources, as well as common wisdom at the time, say kidnapped) a goose, named him Homer, and deployed him locally and elsewhere to bring attention to their plight.

When the city continued to ignore them, they threatened to cook and eat Homer. The most tangible result of the stunt, according to the Austin-American Statesman, was an office space and funding for homeless advocacy organizations.

There were more stunts and Mayberry-like tales, including a protest involving a raft, Homer's disappearance, and the issuing of an all-points police bulletin. He ended up first with Renteria (who is married to Austin CIty Councilmember Pío Renteria) and then at the Austin Zoo, where he died at advanced age of 27.

Now Renteria wants to resurrect Homer, so to speak, to once again raise awareness of the plight of Austin's homeless population. The Monitor reports that she is raising money to buy a glass display case for the goose, who was apparently taxidermied (we hope), along with a rolling trailer and presentation materials for presenting the mascot and the cause to various groups. Mayor Steve Adler's commitment to end homelessness in Austin, Renteria told the Monitor, prompted her actions.