AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department has released their comprehensive list of homeless encampments scheduled to be cleaned up.
On it, 20 distinct locations targeted by the city department which potentially pose a threat to water quality and/or flooding.
The city started with two sites on Riverside Drive last month. The most recent location targeted is on Anderson Lane, a site adjacent to an unexpected homeless fire on Monday.
The Austin City Council approved a $250,000 contract in December for cleaning the areas, following a pilot program last year. It says the clean-up is important so Austin’s drainage infrastructure works like it’s supposed to and does not put the city at risk of flooding, erosion or water pollution.
In the 2019 pilot program, city crews did 37 cleanups in nine flood-prone spots where people sleep. Social workers went along to help the homeless people who were affected by those cleanups.
Department officials said the hired contractor, WorkQuest, will methodically attend to each of the 20 locations.
The Watershed Protection Department also has a separate agreement with The Other Ones Foundation, an organization committed to providing employment opportunities to people experiencing homelessness. This group performs maintenance work on WPD-managed lands twice a week, removing invasive species, pulling weeds and picking up trash and litter.
The locations on the list are subject to change and may be added to, the department reported.
Jose Guerrero, the assistant director for The Watershed Protection Department, said it’s important Austinites call 311 with any concerns over homeless camps near water.
Editors Note: A previous version of this story said that the Watershed Protection Department has contracted with The Other Ones Foundation for homeless camp cleanups. While this organization will periodically clean homeless camps, it is not their sole responsibility within their mutual agreement.