Ground Restoration Service
The safety of our neighbors and environment, as well as existing codes and ordinances, require that some spaces remain uninhabited. City departments work together to restore previously occupied grounds to their previous state, including parkland, watershed lands, areas near Austin Energy substations, and other environmentally sensitive spaces.
Public Space Cleaning Service
Following ordinance changes in 2019, the City of Austin departments responsible for keeping public spaces clear of potentially hazardous clutter and debris coordinated cleaning schedules with each other to maintain standards. The Public Space Cleaning Service provides in-person assistance and guidance for cleaning areas while they are inhabited, removing items that are either trash or not permitted for safety reasons.
Notices of the cleaning service are posted a week in advance and in response to COVID-19 were temporarily halted before resuming with pre-cleaning delivery of trash bags, gloves and masks for residents.
Violet Bag Program
Developed and piloted by the City of Austin Service Design Lab in 2019, the Violet Bag program empowers people experiencing homelessness to maintain spaces around them by providing trash bags and disposal kiosks near known encampments. Now operated by the Downtown Community Court, hundreds of purple bins with locks are made available to hold important documents, meaningful keepsakes, and bulky personal items, lightening the load for appointments with service providers or potential employers. During operational hours (seven days a week, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.) people experiencing homelessness can access their bin by presenting their bin tag, key, or other identifying documents.
In addition to the services listed below, the City of Austin launched a new transitional storage program in 2020 to help people experiencing homelessness safely store important items with access every weekday.
Developed as a partnership between Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Public Health, The Other Ones Foundation and Family Eldercare, Workforce First offers people experiencing homelessness extremely low barrier employment opportunities. Earning $15/hr creates an alternative to panhandling and paves pathways to stable employment and housing. Participants are provided transportation to and from work sites, lunch, counseling services, job training, connection to banking and saving services, and access to social services. As of July 1, 2020 Program participants have collectively earned $337,800 and removed nearly 200 tons of trash from green spaces - with 62 having moved into stable housing.