City works to relocate downtown homeless camp to Northbridge Shelter

The City of Austin says that efforts have begun to relocate homeless camps downtown to a new bridge shelter.

Teams began working with those camping around the Buford Tower to help relocate them to Northbridge, the City’s newly converted bridge shelter, as part of the City's HEAL initiative.

The city says that this third HEAL site is on City park land, and extends from the First Street Bridge to the southern part of Congress Bridge and from the south side of West Cesar Chavez Street to Lady Bird Lake. Approximately 60 people will be offered temporary shelter this week as the first step toward finding permanent housing through HEAL. 

The City says it purchased the Northbridge building at 7400 North I-35 last year with plans to convert it to permanent supportive housing and has so far used it as a Protective Lodging facility (ProLodge) for high-risk individuals as part of the COVID-19 emergency response. While plans for the permanent supportive housing project are developed, Northbridge will serve as a temporary bridge shelter. 

The leased facility at 3105 North I-35 will no longer serve as a bridge shelter, the city says. It is being considered for another use in the City's emergency COVID-19 response.   

Austin City Council approved the HEAL initiative in February as a collaborative approach that reduces the number of unsheltered individuals by targeting specific encampment sites, and providing outreach, relocation to shelter, and rehousing.

 In June and July, the city says the HEAL initiative helped 70 individuals who were camping near Terrazas Library and the underpass at Ben White and Menchaca Road relocate to the Southbridge shelter and begin the process of moving into permanent housing.  

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