City releases more details on proposed sanctioned homeless campsites

The City of Austin has released more specifics regarding its plan to create sanctioned homeless campsites. 

This comes after Prop B was approved by voters and went into effect on Thursday. Phase one of implementation is currently underway, which focuses on awareness and verbal warnings.

On Friday, the City released a memo detailing what each sanctioned site should include and what the estimated costs will be. 

According to the memo, the City is currently reviewing more than 70 city-owned properties as possible site locations, with the goal of having at least one in each district. The memo did not list any specific locations.


Each site is expected to have electricity and water, restrooms, lighting, hygiene stations and 24/7 security. "Services offered on-site should address basic needs, while maintaining a housing focus, prioritizing connection to permanent housing resources," according to the memo.

The estimated cost for one site holding 50 people is more than $1.3 million. An 80-person site would cost more than $1.8 million.

"It is not inexpensive and I share the sentiment that others have expressed that it’s far better to invest in permanent housing solutions," said Councilmember Kathie Tovo, who pushed for information on proposed sites to be released by Friday. "That being said, we need to move forward in a direction that allows people to move from the areas where they are currently camping into safer spaces."

In the next two steps of the reporting process, staff will be looking at costs, financial resources, and land that can accommodate "tiny homes".


By June 1st, staff is directed to provide information regarding:

  • A proposed implementation schedule
  • Estimated total costs
  • Potential financial resources
  • Possible community partners for cost-sharing and/or service provision

By July 1st, staff will identify:

  • Land within city limits owned by the City, other governmental entities, or willing community partners that could accommodate ‘tiny home’ structures to serve as temporary housing
  • Estimated costs associated with individual structures and supportive infrastructure

During the May 18 Council Work Session, staff will present an overview of this strategy including potential land options for encampments and safe overnight parking, says the city.