Austin (KXAN) — The Austin City Council approved starting the process to expand the service area of its Downtown Austin Community Court, and possibly increase its funding. The court serves as a homeless diversion program and would serve the entire city not just downtown.

A memo from the City of Austin earlier this month shared recommendations the DACC submitted for consideration in the next fiscal year.

The recommendations formed at a DACC Advisory Board meeting in March included adding two clinical case managers to its staff, securing a permanent facility for the DACC, and providing ongoing funding for its currently employed clinical case managers as well as maintaining the Violet KeepSafe Storage Program.

The total cost of these budget recommendations as listed is $2,856,400.

Natasha Harper-Madison, Austin City Council member for District 1, said the expansion would support homelessness prevention efforts in the city.

“We will ensure that no matter where you live, downtown Pleasant Valley, Springdale, Rundberg or West Gate, you can gain access to the same transformational aid that the DACC has been providing for years in downtown Austin,” Harper-Madison said.

What does the DACC do?

The DACC was established in 1999 and provides defendants who are homeless with “creative sentences” that serve justice and address quality of life issues that could lead to repeat offending, according to the city’s webpage on the court.

Among its budget recommendations, the DACC has also asked the city to address some code ordinances on low-level offenses and how they are processed in the courts.

A document on these suggestions listed the DACC’s top 10 case types as public intoxication, disorderly conduct, possession of drug paraphernalia, sit/lie violations, consuming alcohol in a public place, pedestrian in the roadway, human waste, littering, simple assault by contact, and theft less than $100.

Robert Kingham, operations manager for the DACC, said he is pleased by the council’s support to extend DACC services and looks forward to seeing how the next months of development play out.

“The next few months are going to be really exciting here at the Community Court as we work with our partners across the city at Austin Municipal Court, and other city departments, as well as other stakeholders across the community, to develop ways that they feel we can best and sustainably increase our expand our area and help individuals in our community,” Kingham said.