The fourth and final phase of the City's public camping ban enforcement plan begins Sunday, August 8.
On Sunday, August 8, the final phase of Proposition B enforcement begins. If an Austin Police Department (APD) officer issues a citation and the individual does not voluntarily leave the area, APD will arrest the individual for violation of the camping ordinance. Anyone arrested for violation of the camping ordinance, will be processed through the Downtown Austin Community Court whenever possible.
Approved by Austin voters on May 1, Proposition B, makes it a criminal offense (Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine) for anyone to sit or lie down on sidewalks in the downtown area, camp in public areas, and solicit or aggressively solicit money or other things of value at specific hours and locations.
Since May 11, Austin Police Department officers have visited more than 605 people experiencing homelessness at encampments and other areas across Austin. Officers have issued 572 written warnings and 24 citations. No arrests have been made related to the camping ban to date. Officers have connected more than 124 people with social support services, which includes referrals for 34 veterans.
APD and city partners are focused on taking a responsible and humane approach to enforcing the law and working with the people who are impacted.
City leaders are also continuing to caution that while resources to address homelessness are increasing, overall community crisis shelter capacity remains limited. Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey stated in a memo to Council this week that her team is continuing to monitor opportunities for the restoration of beds at existing city shelters, but the current COVID-19 risk level does not allow for safe restoration of bed capacity.
Austin Police Department has been working with City departments and community-based providers to promote voluntary compliance for people camping in public spaces in violation of the new law, with an emphasis on encampments with the greatest health and safety risks. In Phase 4, enforcement will occur regardless risks associated with the encampments.
The City's phased approach pertains only to sites that were in existence prior to the new City ordinance going into effect on May 11, 2021. Individuals who attempt to set up new camps are subject to immediate notification of violation, and enforcement action, if necessary.
Several other City departments – including Public Works, Austin Resource Recovery, Parks and Recreation, and Watershed Protection – continue to conduct both regularly scheduled and as needed clean ups at underpasses, parks, and creeks. City teams are finding many abandoned encampments, allowing them to make final clean ups to public spaces. These ongoing efforts are independent of activities related to implementation of the camping ordinance.
For more information go to: AustinTexas.Gov/PropB-Homeless.