An in depth look at Austin City Council's homeless camping proposals

Talking for years is now in plain text until a special public meeting September 18th. This week, the Austin City Council released two documents relating to camping in public areas.

Mayor Steve Adler says, "In June, the city council said we want our police to have all the tools they need related to public safety and public health - blocking or impeding or threatening or aggressively confronting."

One draft was released- by Kathie Tovo and Ann Kitchen.

Another from Greg Casar and Mayor Steve Adler.

Mayor Adler says, "There's not a lot of difference between them." They both detail what "camp" means and what defines a "public area", and both are proposing to ban camping in high flood areas. But the most detailed are locations.

In Tovo and Kitchen's draft, sitting, lying down and sleeping would be banned in "high pedestrian and vehicular traffic areas”. This would be on west campus between MLK and 29th street. Guadalupe, Rio Grande, San Antonio Ave., San Gabriel, Nueces and West 24th. Downtown on 2nd, 5th, west of Guadalupe, 6th St., Congress Avenue, and Red River St. And in Central East Austin on east 11th, east 12th and Manor Road.

This also goes for traffic islands, medians, sloped areas under a highway, freeway, ramps and underpasses. "We're not going to be able to fix it unless everyone is involved,” Mayor Adler says.

Adler and Casar's draft says a person is banned from these areas if the person is endangering health or safety, or impeding the use of a public area if they camp here.

More than a dozen street names are mapped out on the last page of the draft.

Adler says, "My three colleagues on the council and I are all now suggesting that we should take the area around the Arch and the Salvation Army downtown and say we shouldn't be camping and sitting and lying around there." 

He adds, "Quite frankly those sitting outside of the Arch have nothing to do with what's happening on the inside of the Arch. They have no desire to be there. Some of those people are going after and victimizing clients of the Arch." 

Adler says it's important to focus on this area so people can get in and out of the Arch, and they're also working on changing the function of the inside of the Arch.

September 20th Mayor Adler says there will be decisions made. 



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