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Camping ban Stage 4: Police can now arrest homeless residents violating camping ordinance

Many individuals began camping outside City Hall when the camping ban was overturned, but have since been cleared out. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Phase 4, the final phase, of Proposition B enforcement began Sunday, meaning police can now arrest homeless individuals for camping in the downtown area.

The Austin Police Department can arrest individuals if they do not voluntarily leave an area after receiving a citation in Phase 4. In Phase 3, APD began writing citations and could only arrest if individuals were camping in areas that were deemed dangerous.

Both APD and the city said they are taking a humane approach to the law and doing their best to work with involved people—APD officers have connected homeless individuals to more than 124 social support services in previous phases.

City Council has been criticized in its response to the camping ban reimplementation for not moving forward with a clear plan for homeless people to go. Approval for sanctioned homeless camps, where homeless people can stay with access to resources and without the threat of arrest, has been dragged out by council after not agreeing on the location of the camps.

Since the camping ban was overturned in the May election, APD officers have visited more than 605 homeless individuals or groups, issued 572 written warnings and 24 citations but have made no arrests, according to the city. Arrests made in the future will be processed through the Downtown Austin Community Court.

"I anticipate the number of individuals willing to voluntarily comply with the ordinance will increase moving forward," Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said.

While APD said it is collaborating with the City to promote voluntary compliance, prioritizing enforcement on camping areas with the greatest safety risks, Phase 4 will occur regardless of encampment safety.

Meanwhile, the city will continue to organize camp clean-ups at underpasses, parks and camp communities as needed. The clean-ups are not associated with Prop B implementation.

The City will give an update on the new stage on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. via virtual news conference.


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