While ordinances change, camping ban at City Hall still on the books


More relaxed camping ordinances will go into effect on Monday.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Changes to city ordinances to decriminalize behavior linked to homelessness will go into effect Monday.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley issued training bulletins to the department on Friday, preparing them for the updated sit, lie and camp ordinances approved by city leaders last week.

One of the bulletins notes that “the building use policy that governs the use of City Hall’s grounds also prohibit camping at City Hall.”

The changes to Austin’s camping ordinance will generally allow camping in most public areas, unless an officer deems it dangerous — or if it is obstructing the right-of-way.

It also remains prohibited in city parks.

Camping was banned at City Hall in 2012 after Occupy Austin protesters refused to leave.

The group was allied with the Occupy Wall Street, a movement against economic inequality.

Many started living on the steps of City Hall. After four months, the group had cost the city almost a million dollars in public safety and cleanup fees.

That’s when Austin started banning people in the city plaza from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The city says it will be reviewing the City Hall camping prohibition in the coming months, as it determines guidelines for where camping is allowed.

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