33 People Experiencing Homelessness Moved from High Flood Risk Area to City-Owned Shelter
AUSTIN, Texas – The City of Austin and partners have compassionately closed a high-flood risk encampment on City parkland east of the Longhorn Dam. A total of 33 unhoused residents and approximately 6 pets were relocated from the encampment to the City-owned Northbridge shelter as part of the Housing-Focused Encampment Assistance Link (HEAL) Initiative.
The encampment has been formally declared closed, and a work zone has been designated while an extensive cleanup process is underway. The clean-up effort, which is expected to take several weeks, is being organized by the Homeless Strategy Office with substantial support from Austin Resource Recovery, the Austin Police Department, and a private contractor.
“Ensuring dignity and well-being for those experiencing homelessness, HEAL provides a direct pathway to crisis shelter from the most unsafe encampments and an opportunity to attain stable housing,” said City of Austin Homeless Strategy Officer David Gray.
HEAL carries out closures of homeless encampments that pose the highest public health and safety risks. Preparation for the closure has included doubling capacity at the City’s Northbridge Shelter to accommodate additional HEAL program participants. People experiencing homelessness at the encampment site were offered transfer to shelter, and connection to housing resources.
City Council approved the HEAL Initiative in February 2021. The HEAL Initiative is one element of the City’s broader effort to address homelessness and return public spaces to their intended uses. Since HEAL began in June of 2021, over 694 individuals have moved from high-risk encampments to the City’s Northbridge shelter. The successful sheltering and resolution of the encampment was a collaborative effort. The Austin Public Health Homeless Strategy Office worked closely with the Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST), Austin Parks and Recreation Department Outreach, Austin Police Department, Austin Resource Recovery, Integral Care and other community partners.
To learn more about homelessness in Austin, please visit www.austintexas.gov/homelessness
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