AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin on Sunday, July 11 is set to begin enforcing the third of four phases of its recently passed public homeless camping ban.
In what was seen as a sharp rebuke of the 2019 camping ban reversal by Austin City Council, voters on May 1, by about 57%, approved Proposition B, which reinstates the ban on camping by those experiencing homelessness.
The plan was developed with the input of the Austin Police Department, the Homeless Strategy Division, the Homeless Outreach Street Team, the Downtown Austin Community Court, the Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Resource Recovery and other agencies.
The phases are as follows:
On May 11, Austin police began issuing verbal warnings concerning the ban except in cases of imminent threat to health or safety. Officers also provided resources to those experiencing homelessness.
In Phase Two officers began issuing written warnings and what the city described as “initial citations.”
In the third phase, officers will begin making arrests and clearing encampments when compliance does not occur following the issuance of citations.
In the fourth phase arrests and citations will continue. Officers will additionally coordinate with homelessness outreach teams and provide people experiencing homelessness with information concerning options for storing personal items and alternate campsites and shelters.
In at least one instance, police have already cleared encampments. On June 14, police as well as City of Austin workers began clearing tents occupied by people experiencing homelessness around City Hall.
According to a statement from the city, the enforcement action took place in order to accommodate an upcoming construction project.