AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin and its partners have helped 92 individuals move from an encampment in Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park to the City-owned Northbridge and Southbridge shelters.
Roy G. Guerrero Park became a popular place for people who are experiencing homelessness said Antony Jackson with “We Can Now.” When people were forced to pack up and leave their camps by the city, they would move to the woods in the park.
“Those numbers went up to more than 100 people in those woods,” said Jackson.
Lucia, who is experiencing homelessness, knows what it is like having to move regularly. She said she was recently forced out of her campsite near Grove Boulevard, which is just down the road from Guerrero Park.
“So much junk,” said Lucia as she walked through a nearby campsite. “So much stuff — where did all this stuff come from, and why is all the trash here?”
Lucia said she keeps her space clean, but when some campsites leave trash everywhere it can bring unwanted attention to an area.
The City works to clean out homeless encampments that pose the highest public health and safety risks.
Trash building up can cause people to call in to report issues.
Jackson said he regularly left trash bags for the encampments he served, but living on the streets can mean basic services are gone.
“We have trash cans inside our homes, and we have dumpsters and trash trucks,” said Jackson.
Jackson’s organization has helped connect people living in the park with resources over the last year, but now, almost all the encampments are gone or empty.
Austin Parks and Recreation said it had a contractor working on debris and trash removal in the park for the last two weeks, and it expects the work to continue for another two to three weeks.
Jackson said his organization has moved out of the park but will continue to connect new homeless encampments with the resources they need.
So far this fiscal year, 218 people have entered the HEAL program. Since its inception, a total of 362 individuals have voluntarily moved from high-risk encampments to the Southbridge and Northbridge shelters.