First arrest made under homeless ordinance during another cleanup Tuesday

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police were out at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) again Tuesday morning to assist with cleanup efforts.

Officers joined Austin Resource Recovery at the ARCH at around 4 a.m. and were there acting as security during the cleaning up. The two groups were at the ARCH working for about an hour.

According to APD, one citation was issued to a person camping in a tent on the sidewalk. Police say that person didn’t want to move at first but eventually did. The arrest, police say, was the result of a man sealing himself inside a tent on the sidewalk and refusing to come out after officers spent about 30 minutes trying to talk to him and offering him other places to go.

The cleanup efforts at the ARCH officially started Monday morning. City crews and workers with vests from Downtown Community Court swept up shoes, trash, and possessions into dumpsters. They also dismantled some tents that had been left behind, feeding them in to dump trucks.

Meanwhile, DPS and TxDOT crews continued their cleanup of 17 total spots along state-owned roadways Tuesday.

“They basically just made the homeless more homeless,” said one homeless man who didn’t want to be named, as crews were cleaning up the overpass at I-35 and 8th Street. He said under the new homeless ordinance, he doesn’t know where he can go with all of his belongings.

Non-profit The Other Ones Foundation helped people who’d been camping under overpasses move their belongings Monday and Tuesday. In some cases, the group even helped people store them in storage units.

“They’re angels, they are,” the homeless man KXAN spoke with said. “I was $15 short of getting a room so I could try to figure out what I’m going to do, and they’re going take me and put me up for the night. Bless their hearts.”

He said it would buy him a little time to come up with a plan.

“But what am I going to do tomorrow night, the next night, the night after that?” he asked. 

“I’m going to be honest with you. I’m coming back down,” he said, telling a KXAN crew that taking a citation for camping under the bridge feels like his only option.

TxDOT explained that they cleaned one location Monday on SH 71 and cleaned seven locations Tuesday along I-35. the other locations TxDOT plans to clean are along SH 71 and US 182.

“The current plan once cleanups this week are complete is to return on a weekly basis unless otherwise directed by the governor,” said TxDOT spokesperson Diann Hodges in an email.

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