Phase 4 of camping ban begins Sunday, but some areas already being cleared

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Sunday Austin police will begin phase four enforcement of the city camping ban.

This move comes as the city has already started the work of cleaning out some camps.

Now while many people experiencing homelessness have been moved into temporary shelter some groups and people experiencing homelessness say the solution to this problem will be more permanent supportive housing.

“Only shelter as an intervention does not end homelessness,” said Caritas of Austin executive director Jo Kathryn Quinn. “These are the kinds of properties that are needed all over Austin.”

The nonprofit is set to break ground on a permanent housing facility Aug. 9.

The facility which is known as Espero at Rutland will house 171 individuals experiencing homelessness and offer support, but she says the city needs more properties like this to get people off the streets and keep them off the streets.

“It really starts with connecting someone with a decent place to live,” said Quinn.

Quinn says 97% of their clients who were in permanent supportive housing are now stable in their housing.

“What inspires me is everyday life,” said Damian Todd as he paints on a bench in downtown Austin. “Started drawing as a kid.”

Todd is experiencing homelessness, but he’s working hard to get off the streets. Painting brings him comfort, but life without a roof over your head is hard he says.

“Just being homeless makes me feel more cautious,” said Todd. “Can’t be like a normal person you have to stay up at night and watch your back.”

On Thursday and Friday the city worked to clear out people camping near Buford Tower in downtown Austin and move them to the city’s new Northbridge shelter. Todd says he hopes to move into housing soon himself.

“That is my dream to have my own house,” said Todd.

A little stability can go a long way says Caritas director Jo Kathryn Quinn.

Todd works construction but also paints to make extra money. He says he spends most days selling his art on the corner of Congress Ave and Gibson St, but a little help with a place to stay would help him get back on his feet.

“I am a painter, an artist for the people,” said Damian.

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