Nonprofit headed by man who was homeless steps in as camping ban progresses

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Phase 2 of the Austin camping ban is underway, and that means the Austin Police Department will begin writing warnings and giving out citations.

For local nonprofits working with those experiencing homelessness, that is an opportunity to connect people with resources.

Every Sunday, you will find Anthony Jackson handing out food and water to people who live in the homeless encampment on the corner of Cesar Chavez and San Marcos Street.

“I have experienced homelessness two times in my life,” Jackson said. “Once as a youth and once as an adult. We were in a bunch of hotels from time to time, cars and even abandoned buildings.”

But now as the CEO of “We Can Now,” a nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness, he is hoping to get people off the streets and into homes.

“When I look around and see the tents it frustrates me a lot,” Jackson said.

Jackson and his team are working to connect people with the resources they need before encampments around the city are cleared out.

“We have been contacting drug abuse centers trying to see if we can collaborate with them,” Jackson said.

He is also working to connect people with jobs, and even mental health services.

When the encampments are gone, Jackson says they won’t stop helping, even if those experiencing homelessness move out of public sight.

“There is no limit to ‘We Can Now,'” Jackson said. “So, if they go to the woods, we are going to be in the woods. Wherever they go, we are going to follow.”

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