A statewide law that will ban people that are experiencing homelessness from camping anywhere in public goes into effect today. In fact, the new law does require cities to enforce a ban on camping. There is either one set forwarding by the state or local ban just as stringent or stricter. Anyone camping illegally in public it says could be charging with a misdemeanor and fined up to $500.
Statewide Homeless Camping Ban – Not So Successful
Save Austin, Texas Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak said he is quite disappointing with how the city has implemented the local camping ban his group has diligently fought for.
Progress is Slow
“The fact we are now more than four months past the May 1 election, I’m hoping we would be further along,” Mackowiak said. “Moreover, we did want to give them a chance to get into the fourth phase of the four-phase enforcement timeline.”
Statewide Homeless Campaing Ban: Lawsuit May Speed up the Process
Save Austin Now, however, recently has announced it is suing the city for the lack of enforcement.
The city should be in compliance with the state’s new law once it goes into effect but Mackowiak doesn’t believe it will. Though Austin does have a ban on camping in place.
“The state may, in fact, have some options in terms of fines, also legal action, and other things,” Mackowiak said. “Once if they are not in compliance. Though he said he doesn’t have much clarity on how the state is going evaluate the city’s compliance.
“However, the city of Austin is in compliance with state law,” a city of Austin spokesperson said. APD officers are going to enforce the state law through citations and, in some cases, arrest.
“Moreover, the APD officers are going to attempt to obtain voluntary compliance whenever possible. It is including by making efforts to connect the people to resources.”
“The average person is not going to notice that much of a difference in how this is going to be enforcing,” said Nick Thompson. He is the Statewide Initiatives Manager for Texas Homeless Network.