AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin is streamlining its approach to managing homeless encampments with a new system to prioritize almost $5 million budgeted for cleanups across the city.
Today the City of Austin is launching the Homeless Encampment Management Team, a multi-departmental group that will coordinate management of public spaces occupied by homeless encampments.
The City will utilize a central response structure to apply a citywide lens to encampment management, so action is prioritized, and resources are deployed to encampments that present the highest risk to health and safety. Additionally, the new Homeless Encampment Management (HEM) tracking and prioritization tool will support consistent data capture and improve understanding of needs, risks, and trends across encampments citywide.
Upon activation, the Homeless Encampment Management Team will use the HEM Tool to score encampments for cleanup and closure. The tool will also be utilized to select sites for the HEAL (Housing-focused Encampment Assistance Link) Initiative, which provides encampment occupants with direct access to shelter and longer-term housing resources.
“The launch of a formalized cross-departmental Homeless Encampment Management Team and prioritization tool will help the City of Austin ensure that its resources are efficiently and equitably deployed. At the same time, the structure will enhance our ability to track conditions in encampments, as well as related public space management activities,” said Dianna Grey Homeless Strategy Officer.
Funding in the recently adopted FY2023 City budget, which allocated around $84 million to preventing and addressing homelessness, includes $4.8 million dedicated to encampment cleanup.
To learn more about homelessness in Austin, please visit https://www.austintexas.gov/homelessness