AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin announced Tuesday 20 people were moved from a north Austin homeless encampment to a transitional housing shelter.
The encampment was located at St. Johns and North I-35 Service Road. The people were relocated to the Southbridge shelter near Interstate 35 and Oltorf Street in south Austin. The shelter, formerly a Rodeway Inn, accepted its first guests back in June 2021.
The city also has another transitional shelter, called Northbridge, located at 7400 N. I-35. It used to be a Country Inn & Suites until the city bought the property.
It’s all part of the city’s HEAL Initiative or Housing-Focused Encampment Assistance Link. The program was approved in February 2021. It works to humanely clear out homeless encampments deemed unsafe. The initiative assesses encampments based on more than 40 factors and uses that to prioritize them for HEAL.
Since June 2021, HEAL has relocated more than 170 people experiencing homelessness from high-risk encampments to Southbridge and Northbridge. The city said 93% of those offered shelter and housing accepted.
It’s a team effort taken on by Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division, several city departments and community partners, including Homeless Outreach Street Team, Austin Resource Recovery, Downtown Austin Community Court, Integral Care and Family Eldercare.
At least $6 million in federal rescue plan dollars are allocated toward HEAL, the city said.