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.

Press Release

 

July 14 - 16, 2021

Approximately 50 people moved to Southbridge shelter from Ben White and Menchaca underpass encampment.

Press Release


August 4, 2021 

New Northbridge shelter opened.

Press Release 


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.

Press Release


August 31, 2021

Approximately 23 people relocated to Northbridge shelter from US-183 and Oak Knoll underpass encampment.

Press Release


November 16, 2021

HEAL Initiative’s second phase began with sheltering of individuals from a high risk floodplain.

Press Release


January 11, 2022

Over 20 individuals moved from encampment adjacent to IH-35 service road and St. Johns Avenue.

Press Release


March 7 - 17, 2022

Over 28 people relocated from encampment near playground and a high flood risk area of West Bouldin Creek.

Press Release


March 25, 2022

Over 31 people experiencing homelessness sheltered from encampment adjacent to St. John Neighborhood Park.

Press Release


May 17, 2022

Over 20 people moved from encampment at Gillis Park and adjacent creek.

Press Release


September 12, 2022

Approximately 92 people moved from Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park to Northbridge and Southbridge shelters.

Press Release

 

December 6, 2022

Approximately 45 individuals moved from Gustavo "Gus" L. Garcia District Park and 3 individuals moved from Asian American Resource Center to Northbridge and Southbridge shelters.

Press Release

 

February 14, 2023

City’s HEAL Initiative Closes Encampment at Pack Saddle Pass and US Highway 71.

Press Release

 

June 20, 2023

City’s HEAL Initiative Serves 75 More Unhoused Residents.

Press Release

 

August 15, 2023

72 People Moved from Central Austin Homeless Encampment to City-Owned Shelter.

Press Release

 

November 1, 2023

City’s HEAL Initiative Closes Encampments at Barwood Park and Tom Donovan Nature Trail at Williamson Creek Greenbelt.

Press Release

 

February 6, 2024

33 People Experiencing Homelessness Moved from High Flood Risk Area to City-Owned Shelter

Press Release