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