Leaders, community react to Prop B passage, camping ban reinstatement

Austin voters passed Proposition B on May 1. It reinstates the citywide public camping ban, reinstates the sit/lie ordinance downtown, and extends that to the University of Texas campus. It also bans panhandling from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. 

"We all want a safe city, we all want it to be safe for homeless. We knew this chaos and destruction in unregulated encampments was not helpful,’ said Cleo Petricek with Save Austin Now.

Petricek is a Democrat and agrees on reinstating the camping ban for the safety of all. "Homeless women have been sex trafficked and raped in these unregulated encampments," she said.


"You want them to have a safe area with security, a place to shower, a place to store their things. They have a right to be treated with dignity," said Petricek.

But the decision isn't welcomed by some who are living on the streets.

"I’m upset about it because it puts me in a situation where I’ll have to find somewhere else to live, they aren't finding a solution for the problem," said Richard, who is experiencing homelessness and protested the decision at Austin City Hall Monday.

Richard, who chose to only provide his first name said the ordinance will put him in a precarious situation. He recently became homeless and says it can happen to anyone at any time. 

"I got a job opportunity for Dell computer company, started working there, I was staying in an extended stay. About three weeks of starting with Dell they canceled the whole project and that was about it," Richard said.

"Most everybody in this city on both sides of this issue just really want the tents gone, which I understand," said Mayor Steve Adler.


Adler acknowledged the recommendations after holding a summit on the topic in April. The goal is to have 3,000 people house within the next three years. After voters' voices were heard Saturday, Adler said it is going to take a team effort to eliminate the crisis.

"It is going to require the philanthropists, businesses, neighborhoods and the clubs. It's going to be all of us in on this," said Adler.

The city will certify the election on May 11, and that is when the camping ban officially goes into effect. People can still camp, but it has to be in certain places picked by the city. Austin City Council member Kathie Tovo is bringing an item to city council on Thursday to address this.