City of Austin officials say police can begin arresting individuals who refuse to vacate dangerous homeless camps, including those in flood-prone areas or near busy roadways, on July 11.
Meanwhile, public records obtained by Austonia show that the majority of homelessness-related charges were dropped over a six-year period.
More than half of 6,806 charges filed between January 2015 and mid-May 2021 were dismissed or closed for a variety of reasons, including plea bargains and "(in the) interest of justice," according to city data. Twenty-eight cases were closed because the defendant had died. Around a quarter of defendants charged were found guilty.
Nearly 58% of Austin residents voted to approve Proposition B during the May 1 election, which reinstates three local ordinances regarding:
- Sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk
- Aggressive solicitation
- Public camping
Now the city of Austin is reinstating these ordinances. Police began issuing warnings and citations earlier this month. Starting July 11, police policies will allow the arrest of individuals who refuse to vacate certain camps, although city officials have said arrests will be a last resort.
Save Austin Now, the political committee that championed Prop B, has criticized the multi-phase plan and the dearth of citations issued since its passage. Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said at a June 15 news conference that police had not issued any citations or made any arrests during the first phase of the plan, which ran from May 11 through June 12.
Nearly 54% of the 6,806 charges filed between January 2015 and mid-May of this year related to the ordinance prohibiting sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk or sleeping outdoors, according to city data. Although public camping was the focus of Prop B, that ordinance accounted for about one quarter of the charges filed.
City officials are still working out where homeless residents can go, legally, in the absence of adequate shelter space and housing units.
Council members directed staff to identify possible temporary sanctioned campsites in each district but pushed back on most of the options presented, citing concerns about parkland and public safety. They then failed to provide direction on additional campsite criteria and a possible implementation plan before taking a six-week recess.
During the final phase of the implementation plan, which begins Aug. 8, police can arrest individuals who do not voluntarily leave campsites.
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
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