The second phase of the City of Austin’s plan to implement the recently reinstated ban on homeless camping around the city begins on Sunday.
Officials in Austin will begin giving written warnings and citations to people who violate the rules.
This follows the passage of Proposition B in the May election, which makes it a crime (a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine) for anybody to camp in public areas, sit or lie down in downtown or University of Texas campus areas, or solicit during certain hours and locations.
Police and other City departments participated in Phase 1
During Phase 1 of the strategy, policy and other City departments visited dozens of encampments around the area to teach persons suffering homelessness about how the new rule affects them. They have been developed to assist people in adhering to the laws while also prioritizing healing and safety, as well as linking people to the appropriate resources and services.
Austin police officers will begin delivering written warnings on Sunday. Repeat violators could thereafter be issued citations.
“Throughout the implementation process, APD has maintained a responsible and humanitarian approach to delivering information and outreach to people affected by the ordinances,” Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said. “As we move forward, I want to emphasize that our goal is to enforce the law while also ensuring the best health and safety for everyone in Austin.”
“At the direction of the Council, the staff is actively researching alternatives for increasing temporary shelter capacity and/or establishing designated campsites in the near future.
At the same time, we are maintaining focus on an aggressive expansion of long-term stable housing for people experiencing homelessness through the initiatives like HEAL, creation of new permanent supportive housing resources, and partnerships with critical community organizations,” added Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey.
The police department will enforce the regulation by visiting locations and assessing any ordinance infractions. Members of the Austin Fire Department will assist the cops by identifying potential fire threats and issuing warnings.