On February 4, 2021, the Austin City Council adopted resolution 20210204-049, establishing the Housing-focused Encampment Assistance Link (HEAL) Initiative. The Council’s action preceded a public vote to approve Proposition B on May 1, 2021, which resulted in the reinstatement of a City-wide public camping ban.
The HEAL Initiative is intended to compassionately close the most unsafe encampments in our city by offering people experiencing homelessness a direct pathway to crisis shelter and opportunities to attain stable housing, sustainably reducing public camping in unsafe areas.
In the original resolution, the City Council specified four encampments to be closed during the first phase of the HEAL Initiative and provided City staff with guidance to create an encampment evaluation and prioritization process to be utilized in subsequent phases.
HEAL Initiative Timeline
March 1, 2021 - May 6, 2021
City staff planned and contracted social services to enable the sheltering, case management, and housing of individuals voluntarily relocated from the Phase 1 priority encampments.
June 16 - 18, 2021
New Southbridge shelter opened.
Terrazas Branch Library encampment successfully closed.
July 14 - 16, 2021
Approximately 50 people moved to Southbridge shelter from Ben White and Menchaca underpass encampment.
August 4, 2021
New Northbridge shelter opened.
August 5 - 6, 2021
Downtown Hike and Bike Trail encampment near Cesar Chavez and Congress streets compassionately closed and residents relocated to the new Northbridge shelter.
August 31, 2021
Approximately 23 people relocated to Northbridge shelter from US-183 and Oak Knoll underpass encampment.
November 16, 2021
HEAL Initiative’s second phase began with sheltering of individuals from a high risk floodplain.
January 11, 2022
Over 20 individuals moved from encampment adjacent to IH-35 service road and St. Johns Avenue.
March 7 - 17, 2022
Over 28 people relocated from encampment near playground and a high flood risk area of West Bouldin Creek.
March 25, 2022
Over 31 people experiencing homelessness sheltered from encampment adjacent to St. John Neighborhood Park.
May 17, 2022
Over 20 people moved from encampment at Gillis Park and adjacent creek.
September 12, 2022
Approximately 92 people moved from Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park to Northbridge and Southbridge shelters.