Reinstatement of public camping ban to be placed on May 2021 ballot

The Austin City Clerk's Office says it has certified that petitions collected and submitted by Save Austin Now have met the required 20,000 valid signatures to be placed on the May 1, 2021 ballot.

The clerk's office says the nonpartisan educational nonprofit made up of organizations and concerned citizens collected more than 26,000 signed petitions which were certified as valid.

The next step is for the City Council to approve ballot language, which must happen by Feb. 12.


In January, Save Austin Now submitted more than 27,000 petitions to the City Clerk to put reinstatement of the public camping ban on the May 2021 ballot.

The ordinance reinstates the ban on homeless camping citywide, restores the sit/lie ordinance to downtown and extends it to the UT campus and surrounding area, and bans panhandling at night citywide from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Co-founders of Save Austin Now Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek, SafeHorns president Joel McNew, and Austin Police Association president Ken Casaday all expressed, in a news release, their support that the ban will be on the ballot.


Save Austin Now says it will now create a PAC to conduct its activities for the election phase. For more on the organization, you can click here.

The first effort to reinstate the ban was ruled invalid back in August, and Save Austin Now decided to try again starting December 1.

Save Austin Now is also calling for a "thorough and independent" audit of the city of Austin's spending on homeless programs. The organization wants the audit to especially focus on housing facilities purchased by the city since July 1, 2019, when the initial changes to the homeless camping ordinances went into effect, including any information on commissions related to property purchases and sales.