AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s Public Works Department cleaned up a homeless camp Tuesday at the Terrazas Library in east Austin.
Once a month, crews visit and clean dozens of camps around town, all as part of the Austin Resource Recovery’s cleanup effort.
Public Works currently provides cleanup services once a month at around 35 locations. They will add or delete sites based on information provided by residents through 3-1-1, city staff or through collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation.
These cleanups are different from the 17 locations TxDOT cleans weekly. The process removes solid waste and debris directly under bridges at the designated locations.
The city clarified that the goal is not to address homelessness, but rather to keep public right-of-way safe for residents. Notifications are posted at clean-up sites three days in advance and personal bags are given to individuals to store their possessions.
The Public Works Department says they are not trying to remove people or take away any belongings. According to the department, they are working with those living at these locations so they know what to expect when these cleanings occur.
However, the people who were kicked out of the camp say the effort is unnecessary.
“We’re not doing anything illegal, causing havoc, we are just trying to live like everybody else,” said one woman living near the library. “We just don’t got a roof and four walls around us.”
People living at the camp say the city told them they could return in two days. KXAN has reached out to the city for more details, and we are waiting to hear back.