City of Austin reveals location for 2 proposed homeless encampment sites

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin revealed two City-owned locations on Monday that may serve as short-term encampments for people experiencing homelessness.

According to the City, the preliminary recommended sites are: 

  • 3511 Manor Road in east Austin (between Airport Boulevard and Berkman Drive)
  • 4011 Convict Hill Road in southwest Austin (between Brodie Lane and Latta Drive)

The City says those two sites will go under further review and consideration. Both locations will require rezoning to allow for the installation of temporary prefabricated structures, known as micro shelters, that can house people on site.

According to a memo, Homeless Strategy Officer Diana Grey and Parks and Recreation Department Director Kimberly McNeeley say that staff is “actively pursuing steps to prepare both sites for City Council consideration.”

A map showing the two proposed sites as they relate to the rest of Austin

The City cites close access to CapMetro public transportation, the ability to control the site and flow of traffic around it, and access to utilities as positives for the two locations. The City also plans to install fencing and provide 24/7 security if the sites are uses for temporary housing.

The site on Convict Hill Road is about three blocks away from Covington Middle School, and that is already drawing concerns from people who live nearby. The site on Manor Road is close to a preschool and Morris Williams Golf Course.

Both sites, the memo says, will require extra measures to prevent fires. One of the “challenges” facing the Manor Road site is that it’s 2,000 feet from the nearest hydrant.

For the Convict Hill Road site, transporting people from the downtown core to the site is considered a challenge since the southwest Austin area is about nine miles from Austin City Hall.

The City originally released a list of 45 potential campsites in May. However, cuts were made after Texas lawmakers passed a camping ban, prohibiting people experiencing homelessness from staying in parks.

A briefing about the two sites is expected to be provided at a City Council Work Session on July 27.

The release says staff could start gathering stakeholder feedback on both properties in August which would include community meetings, opportunities to speak at City Council meetings, and community surveys via SpeakUp Austin.

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