AUSTIN (KXAN) — Phase 2 of the City of Austin’s four-tiered public camping ban went into effect Sunday, meaning repeat offenders of the ban may soon be issued citations.
Starting Sunday, people violating the ban on public camping will first receive written warnings. If the person has been previously warned, police may issue a citation.
Prop B was approved by Austin voters on May 1 making it a criminal offense — a Class-C misdemeanor punishable by a fine — if you sit, lie down, or camp on public property in downtown Austin or on the University of Texas-Austin campus. It also prohibits panhandling at specific hours and locations.
The first 30 days of the City’s implementation of the camping ban, Phase 1, sought to educate people experiencing homelessness about the rules of the ban. Representatives from multiple city departments visited encampments across the city, providing resources on alternate options and safe housing.
Phase 2 is expected to last 28 days.
How will the City of Austin enforce the new camping ban?
Phase 1 – Effective May 11, a 33-day period of community engagement and education will begin. During this time, the Austin Police Department will provide verbal warnings to those found camping — in addition to resource information. This excludes instances that are of imminent safety or health concern.
Phase 2 – Starting June 13, APD will begin issuing written warnings and initial citations. This period will also last for 28 days.
Phase 3 – Starting July 11, APD may initiate arrests and/or begin clearing out encampments in areas that have not been cleared following citations. The City of Austin did not immediately say how long Phase 3 will last.
Phase 4 – During Phase 4, citations and arrests will continue as needed. APD will work with City of Austin homeless outreach teams to help provide further information on resources, when available.
These four phases will end in August at which point the Austin Police Department will reassess its effectiveness.