AUSTIN, Texas - A petition to reinstate the camping ban in Austin has received 10,000 signatures, half of the signatures needed for it to be placed on the November ballot.
Save Austin Now, a nonpartisan educational nonprofit has announced that they have collected more than 10,000 signatures on their petition effort to reinstate the camping ban. According to the nonprofit, if they receive 20,000 validated signatures from Austin residents by July 18, the ordinance will be placed on the November ballot.
Save Austin Now's ordinance has three provisions:
- Reinstates the ban on homeless camping citywide
- Restores the sit, lie ordinance to downtown and extends it to the UT campus surrounding area
- Bans panhandling at night citywide from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“Given the unprecedented challenges presented by coronavirus and shelter-at-home, it is a tremendous achievement that we have reached 10,000 signatures,” said Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak. “The disastrous camping ordinance has harmed public safety, public health, the image of Austin, and tourism. In May we learned that the Point-in-Time study showed a 45 percent increase in ‘unhoused’ homeless between January 2019 and January 2020."
Mackowiak started the petition in July of 2019, shortly after Austin City Council relaxed some camping ordinances in an effort to decriminalize the homeless population.
“As a neighborhood activist who has sheltered homeless individuals in my home, I care about this community,” said Save Austin Now co-founder Cleo Petricek. “But we all deserve safe neighborhoods and reinstating the camping ban will make our city safer. Hitting 10,000 signatures from every neighborhood and every zip code across this city is a sign of how wide the support is for this common-sense effort.”
Save Austin Now is mailing the petition to tens of thousands of Austin residents and are asking them to fill it out, sign it, and mail it back.
"We have a plan to collect the remaining 10,000 signatures over the next 30 days, but we need additional donations and assistance from engaged Austinites who want safe neighborhoods,” Mackowiak said.
The nonprofit is also using volunteers ad canvassers to collect signatures at the polls from June 29 to July 14.
To download the petition or donate to Save Austin Now, visit their website here.