City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Homeless Strategy Division
The City of Austin and partners have compassionately closed the West Bouldin Creek area encampment. A total of 72 unhoused residents and approximately 15 pets were relocated from the encampment to the City-owned Southbridge shelter as part of the Housing-Focused Encampment Assistance Link (HEAL) Initiative.
HEAL carries out the closures of homeless encampments that pose the highest public health and safety risks. Preparation for the closure has included doubling capacity at the City’s Southbridge Shelter to accommodate additional HEAL program participants. People experiencing homelessness at the West Bouldin Creek area encampment site were offered transfer to shelter, and connection to housing resources.
The encampment has been formally declared closed, and a work zone has been designated while an extensive cleanup process is underway. The clean-up effort, which is expected to take several weeks, is being organized by the Parks and Recreation Department with substantial support from Austin Resource Recovery, the Austin Police Department, and a private contractor.
“The HEAL Initiative gives us a concrete way to combat homelessness in our community and provide the resolution of unsheltered encampments that pose the greatest risks for the community,” said City of Austin Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey.
Since HEAL began in June of 2021, 618 people have voluntarily moved from high-risk encampments to the City’s Southbridge and Northbridge shelters. Successful sheltering and resolution of the West Bouldin Creek encampment was a collaborative effort. The Austin Public Health Department’s Homeless Strategy Division is working closely with the Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST), the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Resource Recovery, the Austin Police Department and other community partners.
The HEAL Initiative is one element of the City’s broader efforts to address homelessness.
To learn more about homelessness in Austin, please visit www.austintexas.gov/homelessness