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Police say arrest is a 'last resort' when it comes to Prop B implementation
Camp Esperanza, the state-sanctioned homeless camp in Southeast Austin, opened in late 2019 and is home to approximate 150 people. (Jordan Vonderhaar)

The final phase of Proposition B enforcement began on Sunday, giving Austin Police Department the authority to arrest individuals for camping in the downtown area.

Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon and Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss what the shift to Phase 4 would look like and how the city is working to get people off the streets.

Officers have been able to arrest some homeless residents camping since Phase 3 began, though no arrests have been made thus far as police continue to employ a "harm reduction" strategy.

"I think it's important for people to know that we continue to try to keep making arrests a last resort, and finding alternative methods to accomplish Prop B implementation," Chacon said.

Chacon said officers have continued the education and outreach that began in Phase 1 of the camping ban reimplementation. According to Chacon, APD has conducted 133 site visits where they surveyed 605 people, issued 572 warnings and 22 citations to those living on the street.

"As (shelter) information comes to the officers, that is being passed along to folks that we're encountering as part of this overall initiative," Chacon said. "We also have our two designated places in the city where people are allowed to camp—McKinney Falls State Park, as well as Emma Long Park—and that information is passed along as well."

Chacon said APD is working to direct displaced people to social services and have so far connected 124 people, including 34 veterans, to organizations to obtain housing or benefits.

Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey said that since the beginning of June, the City has moved 110 people in bridge shelters, opened two new converted hotel shelters and closed the sale on a third on Aug. 2, which will add 60 beds.

"That (new hotel) is going to provide deeply supportive, long-term affordable housing for 60 of the most chronically homeless individuals in our community," Grey said.

City Council has been criticized in its response to the camping ban reimplementation for not moving forward with a clear plan on where homeless people should go. Austin City Council has not said anything about approval for sanctioned homeless camps, places homeless people can stay with access to resources and without the threat of arrest, since July 20.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway