UPDATED: Warnings, citations continue in Austin with Proposition B Phase 3 enforcement

Phase 3 of Austin's Proposition B enforcement rollout will run from July 11 through Aug. 7. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Phase 3 of Austin's Proposition B enforcement rollout will run from July 11 through Aug. 7. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Phase 3 of Austin's Proposition B enforcement rollout will run from July 11 through Aug. 7. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated July 14 1:02 p.m.

Days into the third stage of its camping ban implementation, the city of Austin shared some additional details on where its homeless outreach and enforcement efforts now stand.

In a statement, the city said Austin Police Department officers carried out some initial Proposition B Phase 3 education work downtown on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail on July 13. Those actions resulted in 21 written warnings to campers in that area, the city said.

Through the first two phases of outreach and warnings, police have connected with more than 530 people experiencing homelessness located in dozens of locations citywide. Of those, 122 have been connected with social services along with 34 veterans who were connected with Veterans Affairs services.

Phase 1 saw 390 verbal warnings issued to public campers, and 210 written warnings were issued during Phase 2, the city said.

In addition to the enforcement update, the city also shared information on its available shelter options for people experiencing homelessness July 14.

City bridge shelter capacity is gradually expanding with the recent opening of South Austin’s Southbridge facility and the expected conversion of a former COVID-19 Protection Lodge into a similar facility this August at 3105 I-35, Austin. Those two facilities will provide around 130 additional shelter beds, and the city said more room may become available at congregate shelters if pandemic-era capacity limits are lifted.

Officials including Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey said the city remains focused on outreach and expanding resources amid its homelessness crisis. However, she also noted that “there will not be enough immediate shelter for all unsheltered Austinites” this year as Proposition B enforcement continues, a sentiment shared by interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon.

“Coordination during this effort has been productive through progressive enforcement, outreach and education,” Chacon said in a statement. “While officers may write citations for violations, we are hopeful for no punitive penalties and to connect individuals to services and resources through diversion efforts in partnership with Downtown Austin Community Court. Enforcing this ordinance is a challenge. Like many communities battling homelessness, there simply aren’t enough places for people experiencing homelessness to go.”

Posted July 12 12:57 p.m.

The rollout of Austin's reinstated public camping ban moved into its third phase July 11, kicking off a one-month period that will generally see continued written warnings and citations issued to violators to be potentially accompanied by some arrests.

Though Aug. 7, Austin Police Department officers will still meet with anyone living on the streets who they have not yet contacted since Proposition B's May passage for "education and outreach" about the new camping law. If a written warning for camping has already been given to an individual, then APD officers will move to issue a citation if the person has not relocated.

Another component of the third enforcement phase is a focus on arresting campers living anywhere "deemed dangerous for the public" who have refused to move. According to the city, such areas include spaces near major roadways or in spaces at risk of flooding or fire. Beginning Aug. 8, the fourth and final enforcement phase will see arrests for anyone who does not relocate after they are cited.

A planned briefing by Austin officials on Phase 3 of Proposition B's implementation scheduled for July 12 was canceled, although more information on the current stage may be released by the city over the coming days. In an update on the first two Proposition B phases given to the Austin Public Safety Commission July 6, APD Lt. Lawrence Davis spoke on the department's focus on education and connecting people experiencing homelessness with social and housing services.

Davis said that, while dozens of individuals have received some support through the outreach side of the city's phased plan, a chief concern remaining among the homeless and officers conducting enforcement work is the need for a direct shelter or housing solution.

"The elephant in the room is, hey, where do we tell folks to go? And so if we’re going to ask them to leave, we ought to have a place to take them," Davis said July 6.

City officials and staff have also been considering that question since Proposition B first passed, although a comprehensive solution has not yet been solidified. Staff in a July 1 memo said the evaluation of expanded shelter capacity and the establishment of two sanctioned encampments on city-owned land could be among the next steps in providing for the hundreds or thousands of homeless individuals who may be forced to relocate over the weeks and months ahead. A new report on those plans is expected from staff July 22.
By Ben Thompson

Austin City Hall Reporter

Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston. After spending more than two years covering in The Woodlands area, he moved to Austin in 2021 to cover City Hall and other news throughout the city.


The monthslong search for Austin's new police chief is expected to wrap up before the end of August. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Search for Austin's next top cop narrows to 7 finalists; new chief to be named by end of August

Seven finalists from across the country remain in the search for Austin's next police chief, the city announced July 26.

Austin ISD will offer virtual learning options to students in kindergarten through sixth grade for the 2021-22 school year, according to a July 26 news release from the district. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin ISD plans to offer virtual learning for some students in 2021-22 school year

The district changed course on virtual learning after rising case counts led the local health authority to revert to Stage 4 guidelines, including wearing masks.

Chick-fil-A will open a location in downtown Austin on July 29. (Courtesy Chick-fil-A)
Chick-fil-A coming to downtown Austin; Dutch Bros Coffee opens in Round Rock and more Central Texas news

Located at 600 Congress Ave., Ste. C150, the newest outpost for the fast-food fried chicken giant is locally owned by Luke Steigmeyer.

City and criminal justice representatives gathered July 26 for a virtual forum about public safety in downtown Austin. (Screenshot via Downtown Austin Alliance)
Officials talk violent crime, diversion options amid continuing discussions over downtown Austin safety

City Council this week could also vote to roll out a new Sixth Street public safety strategy and support a county criminal justice diversion program.

State Rep. Vikki Goodwin, D-Austin sent a letter July 23 urging Gov. Greg Abbott to allow schools to require masks. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas state reps. call on Abbott to permit school mask mandates amid rising COVID-19 cases

The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Vikki Goodwin, called upon Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath to permit school districts to enact mask mandates and provide virtual learning options.

photo of Chick-fil-a fries and sauce
Chick-fil-A to open in downtown Austin July 29

A new location for the chicken giant is coming to 600 Congress Ave.

The new 35-story building overlooks Lady Bird Lake and Shoal Creek. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Workers celebrate topping out of Austin 'sailboat building' concrete structure

Workers who contribute to the construction of the Block 185 building celebrated topping off the structure, a big milestone for the development project that began in 2019.

A system to identify at-risk Austin Police Department employees has not been effective. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Audit finds Austin police system to flag at-risk officers is failing

Austin's city auditor and police chief agree the police department's computer program to identify at-risk officers is not fulfilling its mission.

A rise in COVID-19 cases has Travis County back in stage 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin reverts to Stage 4 guidelines with rising delta variant cases

As delta variant COVID -19 cases are sending more young people to local ICUs, The Austin-Travis County Health Authority has moved the area back to guidelines that require masks indoors.

Opening day at Q2 Stadium
US men’s soccer team to visit Q2 Stadium this fall

The U.S. men's national team will host Jamaica for a FIFA World Cup qualifier game on Oct. 7.

Capital Metro is hosting a series of virtual meetings to hear feedback from the community on the latest Project Connect designs. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Capital Metro seeks community input on latest Project Connect design

Want to have your voice heard about Project Connect? Tune in to the upcoming virtual meetings.