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[00:00:10]

GOOD AFTERNOON,

[Virtual News Conference on Implementing Homelessness Ordinance ]

EVERYONE.

MY NAME IS STEPH NATION SPECIALISTS.

I WILL BE SERVING AS YOUR MODERATOR FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR THIS VIRTUAL NEWS CONFERENCE ON IMPLEMENTING HOMELESSNESS ORDINANCES.

OUR PRIMARY SPEAKERS FOR TODAY INCLUDE CITY MANAGER, SPENCER CRUNK, INTERIM CHIEF OF POLICE, JOSEPH CHUCK COHN, AND HOMELESS STRATEGY.

OFFICER DIANA GRAY ALSO JOINING US AUSTIN FIRE DEPARTMENT, CHIEF JOEL BAKER, AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY, EMS ASSISTANT CHIEF AND HOMELESS OUTREACH STREET, TEAM REPRESENTATIVE ANDY HOFFMEISTER, PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT DIVISION MANAGER, LUCAS MASSEY AUSTIN RESOURCE RECOVERY DIRECTOR, KEN SNIPES, DOWNTOWN AUSTIN COMMUNITY COURT ADMINISTRATOR, PETE VALDEZ.

AND I'D ALSO LIKE TO INTRODUCE OUR POOL REPORTER FOR TODAY.

BEN THOMPSON FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT.

HE'LL BE ASKING QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF AUSTIN MEDIA WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT OVER TO OUR SPEAKERS FOR OPENING REMARKS, STARTING WITH CITY MANAGERS, SPENCER CROCK.

WELL, THANK YOU, STEPHANIE AND GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE.

TODAY, WE'LL BE SHARING OUR PHASE PLAN TO IMPLEMENT AND ENFORCE THE CAMPING ORDINANCE THAT GOES INTO EFFECT TODAY.

AS WE ALL KNOW, THE ISSUE OF HOMELESSNESS IS COMPLEX.

THERE ARE NO PERFECT OR SIMPLE SOLUTIONS, BUT IN WORKING WITH THIS TEAM AND OUR PARTNER AGENCIES, I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT WE ARE LASER FOCUSED ON ADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS IN A SAFE AND HUMANE MANNER.

WE WANT TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO CAMPING, GIVING PEOPLE PLACES TO GO SAFELY AND HUMANELY IMPLEMENTING THE CAMPING ORDINANCES AND ALL HANDS ON DECK COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS.

IT REQUIRES COORDINATION FROM MULTIPLE DEPARTMENTS ACROSS OUR CITY ENTERPRISE REPRESENTATIVES FROM SEVERAL OF THOSE DEPARTMENTS ARE WITH US TODAY TO OUTLINE ASPECTS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN AND ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS.

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR AUSTINITES TO UNDERSTAND THAT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CAMPING RESTRICTIONS WILL REQUIRE A PROCESS THAT EXTENDS OVER SEVERAL WEEKS.

OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO IMPLEMENT THE ORDINANCE IN A SAFE AND HUMANE APPROACH THAT HELPS INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, COMPLY WITH THE ORDINANCES, THE GOALS GUIDING THIS PLAN HAVE BEEN TO EMPHASIZE OUTREACH AND EDUCATION.

WE WANT TO ENSURE HEALTH AND SAFETY AND CONNECT PEOPLE TO APPROPRIATE RESOURCES AND SERVICES AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

I LOOK FORWARD TO OUR CONVERSATION TODAY AND I'LL TURN IT OVER TO OUR INTERIM CHIEF CHACAN TO PROVIDE MORE DETAILS.

CHIEF CHIEF, THANK YOU, CITY MANAGER, CROCK.

UH, GOOD AFTERNOON, JOSEPH CHUCK ON INTERIM CHIEF OF POLICE.

SO AS PART OF THE PROCESS TO WORK WITH OTHER CITY DEPARTMENTS ON A STRATEGY THAT FOCUSES ON THE LEAST HARM, WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER A PLAN THAT WILL INCLUDE COMPONENTS OF EDUCATION AND OUTREACH AS WELL AS ENFORCEMENT, SO THAT WE ARE RESPONSIBLY MANAGING OUR PUBLIC SPACES AND MEETING THE VOTERS EXPECTATIONS.

WE WILL BE CONCENTRATING FIRST ON THOSE AREAS THAT PRESENT A GREATER DANGER TO EITHER THE COMMUNITY OR TO THE ENCAMPMENT ITSELF FOR A VRF, A VARIETY OF FACTORS, SUCH AS A VULNERABLE POPULATIONS, INCLUDING THE ELDERLY OR VERY YOUNG PHYSICAL LOCATION, DANGERS THAT MIGHT BE PRONE TO FLOODING OR WILDFIRE DANGER OR AREAS THAT HAVE REPORTS OF VIOLENCE, DRUG ACTIVITY, OR OTHER CRIMINAL ACTIVITY.

WE WILL EMPLOY AN EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGY.

THAT INCLUDES A PHASED APPROACH AND WILL INCLUDE INFORMATION FOR THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE AND OUR POPULATION EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVES WILL WORK WITH THE CITY'S HOMELESS OUTREACH STREET TEAM.

ALSO KNOWN AS HOST ON A MULTI-PHASE APPROACH THAT WILL INCLUDE SPECIFIC TIMELINES FOR EACH PHASE, AS WELL AS SPECIFIC GUIDANCE FOR OFFICERS ON ACTIONS DURING EACH PHASE BY WAY OF BACKGROUND, OUR HOMELESS OUTREACH STREET TEAM IS A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAM.

THAT INCLUDES OUR CRISIS INTERVENTION OFFICERS, EMS, COMMUNITY HEALTH PARAMEDICS, AND LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS FROM OUR PARTNERS AT INTEGRAL CARE, WHICH IS THE LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH AUTHORITY.

THIS TEAM HAS BEEN WORKING IN OUR HOMELESS COMMUNITIES SINCE 2017 AND HAVE REFERRED HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS TO SERVICES TO HELP THEM IN THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES.

THIS WORK WILL ONLY CONTINUE DURING THESE EFFORTS.

[00:05:02]

THE FIRST PHASE BEGINS TODAY, MAY 11TH AND WILL CONTINUE FOR FOUR WEEKS TO JUNE 12TH.

DURING THIS PHASE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WILL TAKE PLACE, WHICH INCLUDES EDUCATION, OUTREACH, MITIGATION STRATEGIES, AND CLEANUPS.

AS WE HAVE DONE IN THE PAST WITH OTHER CITY ORDINANCE CHANGES, THERE WILL BE A PERIOD OF TIME TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ON THE CHANGE.

AND DURING THIS FIRST PHASE, VERBAL WARNINGS WILL BE GIVEN.

THE SECOND PHASE WILL RUN FOR FOUR WEEKS FROM JUNE 13TH THROUGH JULY 10TH.

DURING THIS TIME EFFORTS, UH, THE, THESE EFFORTS OF CLEANUPS MITIGATION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WILL CONTINUE.

OFFICERS WILL TRANSITION TO WRITTEN WARNINGS AND IN SOME CASES, CITATIONS DURING THE THIRD AND FOURTH PHASES, WHICH BEGIN ON JULY 11TH AND MOVE FORWARD FROM THAT POINT 72 NOTICES WILL BE POSTED IN ENCAMPMENTS INDICATING THAT CLEANUPS WILL TAKE PLACE.

AND THEN A PERSONS ARE STILL IN PLACE AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE 72 HOURS.

MANDATORY CITATIONS WILL ISSUE.

ADDITIONALLY, ARREST MAY BE POSSIBLE IF THE CITATION DOES NOT IN THE CONDUCT TO BE CLEAR, ARREST WILL BE A LAST RESORT FOR THOSE THAT REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH THE CITATION AND CEASE THE CONDUCT.

AND FOR THOSE THAT ARE ARRESTED, WE'RE WORKING WITH OUR DOWNTOWN AUSTIN COMMUNITY COURT ON A DIVERSION PROCESS SO THAT THE PERSON CAN BE TRANSPORTED DIRECTLY TO COURT AND NOT TO JAIL.

THIS WILL ALLOW THEM TO BE PLACED INTO A DIVERSION PROCESS THAT WILL INCLUDE SOCIAL SERVICE ENROLLMENT AND FOLLOWUP.

DURING THE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS STRATEGY, APD WILL CONTINUE TO REVIEW OUR PUBLIC SPACE MANAGEMENT PLAN TO DETERMINE IF CHANGES ARE APPROPRIATE IN ORDER TO MAKE THE STRATEGY AS EFFECTIVE AS POSSIBLE.

APD WILL WORK WITH OUR CITY AND COMMUNITY SERVICE PROVIDERS TO ENSURE WE ARE PROVIDING THE BEST OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS TO IMPROVE THEIR SITUATION AND HOPEFULLY TO GET THEM INTO SHELTER AND ON THE PATH TO BECOMING HOUSED.

RIGHT NOW, I'LL GO AHEAD AND TURN IT OVER TO THE CITY'S HOMELESSNESS STRATEGY.

OFFICER DIANA GRAY.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, CHIEF TECHONE.

UH, THE CITY OF AUSTIN'S RESPONSE TO HOMELESSNESS OCCURS DAILY, UH, ACROSS MANY CITY DEPARTMENTS AND THE SUCCESSFUL HUMANE IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE ORDINANCES WILL REQUIRE THE COORDINATION OF MANY CITY EMPLOYEES, AS WELL AS COLLABORATION WITH OUR COMMUNITY-BASED PARTNERS THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS, THE SUPPORT OF OUR HOMELESS OUTREACH STREET TEAM OR HOST WILL BE CRITICAL.

HOST IS A MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM MADE UP OF OUTREACH WORKERS FROM INTEGRAL CARE, SPECIALIZED COMMUNITY PARAMEDICS FROM EMS, THE DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY COURT, AND APD TO THE GREATEST DEGREE POSSIBLE HOSTS WILL ENGAGE WITH PERSONS, EXPERIENCING UNSHELTERED HOMELESSNESS TO INFORM THEM ABOUT THE PROCESS AND WHAT THEY CAN EXPECT, SUPPORT THEM IN CASES WHERE THEY NEED TO VACATE A CAMPSITE AND CONNECT, CONNECT THEM TO EXISTING SHELTER, HOUSING, AND SERVICE RESOURCES.

THIS WILL INCLUDE ACCESS TO STORAGE FOR PERSONAL BELONGINGS WHERE THAT'S NEEDED.

UH, AS CHIEF TECHONE MENTIONED, WHEN CASES ARE HEARD IN THE DOWNTOWN AUSTIN COMMUNITY COURT, INDIVIDUALS ARE OFTEN REFERRED TO DOWNTOWN AUSTIN, COMMUNITY COURT, CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS WHO CONNECT THEM WITH SERVICES AND HOUSING, INCLUDING THOSE PROVIDED BY OUR NONPROFIT PARTNERS ACROSS THE CITY.

DURING THIS INITIAL IMPLEMENTATION PHASE, AUSTIN RESOURCE RECOVERY PUBLIC WORKS AND OTHER DEPARTMENTS WILL CONTINUE THEIR REGULARLY SCHEDULED CLEANING AND TRASH PICKUP AT CAMP SITES, WHICH WOULD NOT IMMEDIATELY NECESSITATE THE RELIEF RELOCATION OF PEOPLE IN THOSE ENCAMPMENTS.

AS WE MOVE FORWARD, THE CITY WILL ASSESS AND ADDRESS THE NEED FOR ADDITIONAL CLEANUP RESOURCES AND STRATEGIES AS CITY MANAGER, CONCH ACKNOWLEDGED HOMELESSNESS IS AN EXTREMELY COMPLEX ISSUE WITH NO SIMPLE SOLUTIONS AT PRESENT.

OUR SHELTERS ARE STILL OPERATING AT REDUCED CAPACITY DUE TO COVID.

AND EVEN AT FULL CAPACITY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE ALL INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS ON THE STREETS OF OUR CITY AT COUNCIL'S DIRECTION.

WE'RE COORDINATING ACROSS DEPARTMENTS TO IDENTIFY POSSIBLE SITES FOR SANCTIONED ENCAMPMENTS ON PROPERTY OWNED BY THE CITY OF AUSTIN OR ITS PARTNERS.

OUR FIRST REPORT BACK TO COUNCIL ON THAT WORK WILL OCCUR THIS FRIDAY, MAY 14TH.

UH, WE WILL NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE COMMUNITY'S PRIMARY

[00:10:01]

CHALLENGE AROUND HOMELESSNESS, AND THAT IS TO CREATE REAL SOLUTIONS TO HELP PEOPLE END THEIR EPISODE OF HOMELESSNESS AND GET BACK INTO HOUSING WITH THE SERVICES THEY NEED TO STAY THERE.

IN THAT VEIN, WE'LL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH A BROAD ARRAY OF PARTNERS TO INCREASE OUR COMMUNITY'S CAPACITY, TO PROVIDE HOUSING AND SERVICES FOR THOSE MOST IN NEED.

HAPPY TO ANSWER FOR THE QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE.

AND AS MENTIONED, WE DO HAVE REPRESENTATIVES FROM SEVERAL OF OUR PARTNER DEPARTMENTS ON HAND TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AS WELL.

THANK YOU, DIANA SPEAKERS.

WE HAVE NEARLY A DOZEN QUESTIONS TO GET THROUGH.

IF WE CAN JUST BE AWARE FOR EVERYONE'S TIME, WE WILL NOW BE JOINED BY OUR POOL REPORTER BEN THOMPSON, WHO WILL ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF AUSTIN MEDIA.

GOOD AFTERNOON.

Y'ALL UM, STARTING OFF HERE, UH, JUST WITH A TWO-PART QUESTION ABOUT KIND OF THE, THE OUTREACH THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE GOING THROUGH IN THESE PHASES HERE.

UM, SO THROUGH PHASES ONE AND TWO INITIALLY, UM, I WAS JUST CURIOUS TO KNOW A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHERE YOU MIGHT BE DIRECTING FOLKS IN ENCAMPMENTS TO, TO MOVE TO, YOU KNOW, NOW THAT THIS ORDINANCE IS IN EFFECT.

AND THEN I ALSO WANTED TO ASK IF THE ENCAMPMENT CLEARANCE PROCESS, UM, DOES BECOME NECESSARY KIND OF WHAT THAT WILL ENTAIL, UM, AT THE GROUND LEVEL WHEN THAT TAKES PLACE.

THANKS.

SO IN PHASE ONE, UM, NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT ANTICIPATING REQUIRING FOLKS TO MOVE FROM A CAMPUS IMMEDIATELY, UNLESS THEY PRESENT IMMEDIATE DANGERS TO HEALTH AND SAFETY, THAT PHASE WILL LARGELY INCLUDE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH.

UM, AND SO WE DO NOT ANTICIPATE, UH, MOVEMENT DURING THAT TIME, EXCEPT FOR VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE FOR FOLKS, WE WILL BE WORKING TO IDENTIFY ALTERNATIVES FOR PLACES, FOR FOLKS TO GO LEGALLY.

UM, AND, UH, THAT WILL BE AN ONGOING PROCESS THROUGHOUT THE IMPLEMENTATION ROLLOUT IN TERMS OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN ENCAMPMENT NEEDS TO BE RELOCATED.

I'LL LET, UM, SOME OF OUR PARTNERS FILL IN THE GAPS HERE, BUT IN GENERAL TERMS, WE FIRST MAKE SURE THAT OUR OUTREACH PARTNERS GO OUT TO THOSE ENCAMPMENTS SEVERAL TIMES SO THAT THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

AND WHEN THEY OFFER STORAGE RESOURCES, UM, FOR, FOR PERSONAL BELONGINGS THAT MAY NEED TO BE KEPT IN A CERTAIN SECURE LOCATION TEMPORARILY, AND THEY DO WORK TO CONNECT THEM TO EXISTING SERVICES IN THE HOPES THAT WE COULD MOVE THEM OFF THE STREET IN THE SHORTER TERM.

AFTER THAT TIME, THERE IS A 72 HOUR, UH, NOTICE POSTED, UH, AND INDIVIDUALS DURING THAT TIME WILL TYPICALLY MOVE, UM, FROM THE ENCAMPMENT, UH, AFTER HOPEFULLY WE DO NOT GET TO THE POINT OF CITATION, BUT SHOULD THAT HAPPEN AFTER PEOPLE LEAVE, THEN WE WOULD BRING IN OUR PARTNERS, UH, FROM AUSTIN RESOURCE RECOVERY OR AUSTIN PUBLIC WORKS TO DO THE CLEANUP THAT MIGHT BE NECESSARY ON THAT SITE.

SO WITH THAT, I'LL OPEN IT UP FOR ANY OF OUR PUBLIC SPACES, UH, PARTNERS TO, UH, TO PROVIDE FURTHER INFORMATION.

I KNOW THAT DIRECTORS SNIPES FROM, UH, AUSTIN RESOURCE RECOVERY HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN COORDINATING THE DIFFERENT EFFORTS ACROSS OUR ENTIRE ENTERPRISE.

AND SO, UH, EVEN THOUGH DIANE GAVE A GREAT EXPLANATION INITIALLY, DID YOU WANT TO ADD ANYTHING DIRECTOR OF TYPES? SURE.

YOU MANAGE THE CHRONIC, UM, I JUST WANT TO BE, UH, YOU KNOW, UPFRONT AND SAY THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO CLEAN WHEREVER PEOPLE ARE LIVING AT THIS TIME.

AND, UH, THAT WILL BE A PART OF THE WORK GOING FORWARD FOR US IN TERMS OF MAKING SURE THAT WE PROVIDE THE PUBLIC HEALTH ASPECT AND ALSO THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION THAT'S NEEDED AT THIS TIME.

SO, UH, WHEREVER WE HAVE PEOPLE LIVING, WE WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE THE SERVICES TO TAKE AWAY TRASH, UH, AND ANY OTHER SERVICES THAT THEY NEED.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU.

UM, NEXT QUESTION HERE FROM CARLOS GARCIA AT SPECTRUM NEWS ONE, UM, RELATED TO ITEM 70 IN LAST WEEK'S COUNCIL AGENDA, UM, WHAT WILL BE THE PROCESS TO IDENTIFY CITY OWNED LAND FOR THE DESIGNATED ENCAMPMENTS? AND WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE A SHORTLIST OF THESE SITES? THANKS.

AS, AS DIANA MENTIONED, THIS WAS AN ACTION THAT COUNCIL APPROVED LAST WEEK AND IN QUICK ORDER, ARE WE ARE COMING BACK, UM, LATER THIS WEEK, UH, WITH AN INITIAL RESPONSE, UH, AND AT A HIGH LEVEL I'VE ASKED, UH, OUR, UH, REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT, UH, LUCAS TO, UH, GIVE AN OVERVIEW OF THIS PROCESS BECAUSE GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE LUCAS MASSEY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR THE AUSTIN PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT, UM, AS A, AS A LARGE, UH, LANDOWNER HERE IN THE CITY AND THE PARKS

[00:15:01]

DEPARTMENT IS QUICKLY, UH, WORKING TO IDENTIFY AREAS THAT CAN BE SAFELY USED, UM, IN THIS CAPACITY WE'RE, AS DIANA MENTIONED, UM, WORKING WITH NOT ONLY CITY DEPARTMENTS, BUT OUR PARTNERS TO IDENTIFY SUCH SPACES AND HOPE TO HAVE THIS LIST, UH, QUICKLY, UM, TO THE CITY MANAGER, UH, AND COUNCIL.

AND THE OTHER NOTE IS IT'S NOT JUST THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE TRACKS OF LAND, IF YOU WILL, BUT ALSO THE WRAPAROUND SERVICES AND OTHER AMENITIES THAT THESE FACILITIES WOULD REQUIRE.

AND SO PART OF THE PROCESS OF REPORTING WILL INCLUDE, UH, WHETHER THERE ARE RESTROOM FACILITIES OR ACCESS TO WATER AND ELECTRICITY, UH, AND MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS ACCESS TO SAFE TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES, UH, ALL THAT WILL BE PART OF THE RESPONSE THAT WE BRING BACK.

UH, BUT WE'RE VERY, UH, AGGRESSIVELY AND PROACTIVELY LOOKING FOR THOSE ALTERNATIVES, RIGHT FROM AUSTIN SANDERS AT THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE.

UM, WILL THE CITY CONDUCT ANY CAMP CLEARANCES BEFORE DESIGNATED CAMPSITES ARE OPEN FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO OTHER PLACE TO GO AND WILL AUSTIN RESOURCE RECOVERY OR RELIEF ENTERPRISES CONDUCT CLEANUPS DURING CLEARANCES, I'LL START THAT OUT AND THEN ASK, UH, INTERIM CHIEF CHACONE TO, UH, ADD ANYTHING THAT I'M FORGETTING, BUT I WOULD FIRST, UH, DEEMPHASIZE THE SANCTION CAMPGROUND PART OF THIS.

I MEAN, WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES FOR PLACES, FOR PEOPLE TO GO THAT INCLUDE, UH, THINGS THAT ARE RELATED TO HOW OUR, UH, CURRENT SHELTERS OPERATES, OUR PARTNERS, UH, THAT WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, I DO AMAZING WORK.

UH, AND SO THERE ARE OTHER PLACES THAT WE WILL BE IDENTIFYING ALONG THE WAY THAT MAY NOT BE, UH, IN SANCTIONED IN CAMP.

SO I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS A BROADER SPECTRUM OF WHAT THOSE ALTERNATIVES HAVE PLACES WHERE PEOPLE COULD GO, UH, INCLUDE, BUT CHIEFS TO COME.

UH, THANK YOU, SPENCER.

AND WHAT I WOULD ADD TO THAT IS THAT, UH, DURING THE PHASED APPROACH, UM, AS, AS, EVEN AS, UH, PRIOR TO THE IMPLEMENT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW ORDINANCE, UM, IF WE HAVE INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS THAT ARE LIVING IN AREAS THAT ARE, UH, CLEARLY DANGEROUS TO, TO SAFETY, UH, TO THEIR HEALTH, UM, OR THAT THEY MIGHT, UM, YOU KNOW, BE PRONE TO SOME KIND OF A NATURAL DISASTER LIKE FLOODING OR WILDFIRE, UH, WE WILL BE MOVING THOSE PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY, UM, THAT HAS, THAT HAS NOT REALLY CHANGED FROM OUR PRIOR STRATEGY.

AND SO THAT WILL CONTINUE, UH, DURING THE INITIAL PHASES, AS THE PHASES CONTINUE, WE'LL BE WORKING WITH PARTNERS AS HAS BEEN DISCUSSED HERE ON IDA IDENTIFYING PLACES THAT WE CAN NOW OFFER THAT PEOPLE MIGHT BE ABLE TO GO INSTEAD.

DID YOU WANT TO ADD THAT WE MISS DIANA FROM AN ILLINOIS AT CBS AUSTIN, UM, WHAT WILL BE DONE WHEN PEOPLE ARE UNABLE TO PAY CITATIONS FOR CAMPING AND PUBLIC, AND IS THE CITY TAKING ANY ADDITIONAL STEPS TO PREVENT ENFORCEMENT FROM CREATING FURTHER HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT BARRIERS FOR PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS? I THINK, UH, MR. VALDEZ WAS GOING TO SPEAK TO THIS QUESTION.

GOOD AFTERNOON.

I AM PETER VALDEZ WITH THE DOWNTOWN AUSTIN COMMUNITY COURT, UH, REGARDING, UH, NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY.

UM, HISTORICALLY OUR GOAL AT THE COMMUNITY COURT IS TO LINK INDIVIDUALS TO SOCIAL SERVICE SUPPORTS.

SO THE GOAL OF THE, UH, JUDGE AND THE ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY, UH, ASSIGNED TO OUR COURT IS TO CONNECT PEOPLE BACK TO OUR SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAM, UH, WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED BY DIANA GRAY.

UH, WE HAVE 20 CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS THAT, UM, THAT WERE HIRED SPECIFICALLY TO HELP INDIVIDUALS, UH, ACCOMPLISH STABILITY TO INCLUDE, UH, HOUSING.

UM, SO WHENEVER SOMEBODY, UH, PLEADS TO A CASE, THE JUDGE IS GOING TO TRY TO HELP THEM NAVIGATE THE, THE, UH, CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM BY ALLOWING THEM TO DO DIFFERENT THINGS IN LIEU OF PAYING A FINE, UH, AND THOSE THINGS COULD INCLUDE PARTICIPATING IN OUR CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.

UH, WE, WE RECOGNIZE THAT INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS DON'T HAVE THE CAPACITY ALSO TO COMPLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE.

SO IT IS RARE WHEN THE JUDGE WILL ASSIGN SOMEBODY COMMUNITY SERVICE, BECAUSE THAT IS NOT SOMETHING THEY'LL BE ABLE TO DO SO AGAIN, UM, HE WILL FOCUS ON TRYING TO CONNECT THEM TO OUR, UH, CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM AS, UH, AS THE GOAL REGARDING EMPLOYMENT,

[00:20:01]

UM, AND HOUSING AGAIN, UH, THAT'S ROLLED INTO OUR SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAM.

UH, WE DO, WE, WE OURSELVES HOUSE PEOPLE, UM, AND WE RECOGNIZE THAT SOMETIMES CRIMINAL HISTORIES ARE BARRIERS TO PEOPLE GETTING HOUSED, BUT, UH, BECAUSE WE, UH, WORK SO INTENSIVELY WITH INDIVIDUALS TO GET THEM INTO HOUSING, WE ARE ABLE TO ADVOCATE ON THEIR BEHALF AS WELL.

UM, SO THAT IS SOMETHING WE ENCOUNTER REGULARLY AND, UM, AND ARE ALSO VERY, UM, ACCUSTOMED TO HAVING TO GET CREATIVE WITH WAYS TO GET LANDLORDS, UH, AND, UH, BUSINESSES TO ACCEPT INDIVIDUALS FOR HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT FROM MOLLY.

OKAY.

K VIEW, UM, WITH SHELTERS HAVING TO DECREASE OCCUPANCY AND TEXTILE PAUSING CLEANUPS DUE TO HEALTH AND SAFETY DURING COVID, HOW WILL CDC GUIDELINES AFFECT THE CAMP CLEARINGS AND MOVING PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS? YEAH, I THINK I CAN SPEAK TO THAT.

SO, FIRST OF ALL, I'LL SAY THAT, UM, WE'LL MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE VERY MINDFUL OF COVID RISK THROUGH THIS PROCESS.

WE HOPE THAT THE PHASED IMPLEMENTATION, UH, AND THIS TIME OF OUTREACH AND EDUCATION, UH, WILL HELP US, UH, MOVE INTO LOWER STAGES OF RISK FOR COVID AS WE HAVE RECENTLY.

AND WE ALSO, UM, ARE COGNIZANT OF THE INCREASED AVAILABILITY OF VACCINE THAT WE, UM, ARE INCREASINGLY MOVING INTO AVAILABILITY FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE EXPERIENCING UNSHELTERED, HOMELESSNESS AND HOPE THAT THAT WILL ALSO DECREASE THE RISK ONCE PEOPLE ARE IN A TEMPORARY HOUSING OR SHELTER OF SOME SORT, CERTAINLY WE WOULD MAKE A CONCERTED EFFORT IN THOSE SPACES TO BOTH SCREEN AND PROVIDE VACCINE FROM BRAD JOHNSON AT THE TEXAN.

UM, IF THE CITY AND ECHO COULD NOT SAFELY OR EFFECTIVELY CONDUCT THE HOMELESS POPULATION SURVEY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, HOW WAS IT ABLE TO CONDUCT ONE SO QUICKLY TO BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK? SO I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CLARIFY HERE.

I BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE SPEAKING TO THE NUMBERS THAT ECHO PLANS TO RELEASE NEXT WEEK.

WE'RE ACTUALLY DRAWN FROM ANALYSIS OF CENSUS NUMBERS THAT WERE COLLECTED IN 2020.

SO THERE HAS NOT BEEN AN ADDITIONAL POINT IN TIME COUNT IN THE NORMAL WAY WE DO THAT, WHICH IS A ONE NIGHT CENSUS, UH, VOLUNTEERS IN THE CITY, COUNTING INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

UH, WE HAVE NOT RETURNED TO THAT AT THIS POINT THIS YEAR WOULD HOPE TO DO SO NEXT YEAR, BUT I BELIEVE YOU ARE SPEAKING TO IS ACTUALLY A SEPARATE PROCESS THAT WE HOPE WILL GIVE US SOME ADDITIONAL INSIGHT INTO THE POPULATION FROM .

UM, HOW LONG IS PHASE THREE OF THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN EXPECTED TO LAST? UH, I'LL GO AHEAD AND TAKE THAT QUESTION.

SO EACH ONE OF THE PHASES HAS BEEN SET OUT AT FOUR WEEKS, UM, AND, UH, THE TIME TABLES HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO OUR OFFICERS TO HELP THEM TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING WITHIN EACH PHASE.

UM, WE HAVE FOUR PHASES THAT ARE SET UP, UH, THAT WE'LL RUN THROUGH AUGUST, AT WHICH POINT THE PLAN WILL BE EVALUATED, UH, HOLISTICALLY IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR, WITH OUR OTHER, YOU KNOW, OTHER CITY DEPARTMENTS ON EFFECTIVE.

IT'S BEEN WHERE WE MIGHT IMPROVE IT.

YOU KNOW, THIS, THIS IS GOING TO BE AN ONGOING PROCESS DURING THE PLAN AS WELL, BUT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE FOURTH PHASE, WE WILL MAKE A DETERMINATION OF IF IT HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE, IF WE SHOULD CONTINUE IT, DO WE NEED TO ADJUST THE STRATEGY, UH, IN EITHER SMALL OR BIG WAYS THAT WILL BE A JOINT DECISION THAT'LL BE MADE.

THANKS CHIEF.

AND I'LL JUST EMPHASIZE THAT IS NOT JUST TRUE FOR APD, BUT ACROSS THE CITY DEPARTMENTS.

AND AS WE LEARN FROM THIS PROCESS MOVING FORWARD, UH, WE WILL BE CONSTANTLY EVALUATING AND MAKING SURE THAT AS WE NEED TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS, WE ARE DOING SO IN A COORDINATED FASHION.

SO THANK YOU FOR THAT CHIEF FROM JACQUELINE .

UM, DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH PATROL OFFICERS RIGHT NOW TO ADEQUATELY ENFORCE THE CAMPING BAN AND WILL YOU RECEIVE HELP FROM OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES LIKE TCSO AND WC? SO, UH, THANK YOU FOR THE QUESTION.

UM, THIS, BECAUSE IT IS A CITY ORDINANCE, UM, THE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, UH, THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT IS GOING TO TAKE THE LEAD ON.

THIS HAS DEVELOPED, UH, THIS PUBLIC SPACE, UH, MANAGEMENT PROGRAM OR PLAN.

[00:25:01]

WE ARE SHARING THAT INFORMATION WITH OUR PARTNERS AT TRAVIS COUNTY, WILLIAMSON COUNTY, DPS, AND OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, UH, IN THE AREA, AS WELL AS SOME OF OUR, UH, OTHER PUBLIC SERVICE PROVIDERS LIKE CAPITAL METRO AND OTHERS TO, TO MAKE SURE THAT, YOU KNOW, HOLISTICALLY, WE ARE LOOKING AT THE MOST EFFECTIVE, UH, HUMANE AND SAFE WAY TO, UM, TO MOVE THIS, THIS PLAN FORWARD.

UM, I DO BELIEVE WITH, UH, OUR TRANSITION RIGHT NOW OF, UM, HAVING OUR HOST TEAM AS WELL AS ALL OF OUR DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVES THAT ARE ASSIGNED TO THIS EFFORT, UH, DURING THIS TIME PERIOD ON A FULL-TIME BASIS, THAT WE WILL HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS TO, UH, TO MOVE THROUGH THE MOVE THROUGH THE PLAN.

UM, AND, UH, AS WELL AS, YOU KNOW, INFORMING ALL OF OUR PATROL OFFICERS THAT ARE DOING THEIR NORMAL DUTIES SO THAT THEY HAVE AWARENESS AND WHEN IT'S NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, UH, TO BE ABLE TO STEP IN AND, AND BECOME PART OF THE PLAN AS WELL FROM CARLOS GARCIA AT SPECTRUM, UH, DIRECTED TO CHIEF CHUCK COHN, WILL THERE BE OTHER APPROACHES ASIDE FROM CITATIONS TO GET PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, TO MOVE FROM IN CAMP? UH, THANKS FOR THE QUESTION.

I THINK THAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THAT, UM, THROUGHOUT THIS, UH, THROUGHOUT THIS PRESS CONFERENCE, THAT WE ARE REALLY LOOKING AT CITATIONS AND ARREST AS A LAST RESORT.

WE WANT TO DO THE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH FIRST TO, TO EDUCATE OUR, OUR FULL COMMUNITY, UH, AND PARTICULARLY OUR COMMUNITY OF FOLKS THAT ARE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS ABOUT WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AND WHAT THE VOTERS HAVE, AND TO DO IT IN A SAFE AND HUMANE MANNER, UM, TO GIVE PEOPLE AN OPPORTUNITY TO, UM, TO MAKE PLANS, UH, IF THEY NEED TO MOVE AND, UH, AND THEN GIVE THEM, UH, PLACES THAT THEY CAN MOVE TO.

SO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS REALLY JUST ONE PART OF THIS.

WE ARE NOT THE BIGGEST OR MOST IMPORTANT PART.

THIS IS A MULTI DEPARTMENTAL EFFORT, UH, THAT THE CITY IS LEADING AS A WHOLE, UH, TO HELP SOLVE THIS PROBLEM FROM ANDREW WEBER AT KATIE.

UM, TO WHAT EXTENT HAVE THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS LIKE CARITAS TRINITY CENTER AND OTHERS IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA BEEN INVOLVED IN CREATING THIS PLAN, WILL THEY BE INVOLVED DIRECTLY IN THE FIRST TWO PHASES OF THIS ENFORCEMENT STRATEGY AND WOULD ECHO HAVE A ROLE IN THOSE PHASES AS WELL? SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK TO ECHO , UH, COMMENT A MOMENT AGO, THIS IS A MULTI-PART INITIATIVE.

AND CERTAINLY FOR ACTUAL ENFORCEMENT, WE WOULD RELY ON OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WHO HAVE THAT AUTHORITY.

HAVING SAID THAT, UH, ARE NOT OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS, WHETHER THEY ARE NONPROFIT GROUPS OR GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS HAVE BEEN VERY ANXIOUS TO HELP INFORM THE PEOPLE LIVING ON THE STREETS ABOUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

SO WE ANTICIPATE A PARTNERSHIP IN THAT AREA.

WE WILL CERTAINLY BE TALKING WITH OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF A PARTNERSHIP AROUND SERVICE PROVISION IN ANY SANCTIONED, ENCAMPMENT, OR OTHER TEMPORARY HOUSING THAT WE PROVIDE.

AND THEN I THINK MOST CRITICALLY, WE REALLY DEPEND ON THE TALENT AND CAPACITY OF OUR COMMUNITY GROUPS WHEN WE IDENTIFY PERMANENT SOLUTIONS FOR PEOPLE'S HOMELESSNESS AND REALLY SEEK TO EXPAND THE CAPACITY OF THAT AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND SUPPORTIVE SERVICES IN THE COMMUNITY.

BRIDGET SPENCER FROM FOX SEVEN AUSTIN ASKS, WHAT ABOUT PARKS? SOME NEIGHBORS HAVE COMPLAINED OF TENTS AND PARAPHERNALIA BEING INSIDE PARKS.

WHAT IS BEING DONE TO ADDRESS CITY PARK SPACES, UH, LUCAS MASSEY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR THE AUSTIN PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT.

UM, SO THE RECENT CHANGE IN THE ORDINANCE, UM, IS LESS IMPACTFUL FOR PARKS IS THAT ORDINANCE REMAINED IN PLACE.

UH, PARKS DEPARTMENT IS AS A TEAM OF RANGERS IS, UH, COMMITTED TO IDENTIFYING, UH, ENCAMPMENTS AND INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS ON PARKLAND AND THEN CONNECTING THEM TO SERVICES, UM, AND THEN SEEKING A VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE WITH THE ORDINANCE, UH, SHOULD OUR EFFORTS FAIL.

WE DO PARTNER CLOSELY WITH APD, UM, AND OTHER TEAM MEMBERS TO, UH, RESOLVE THE ISSUE ON PARKLAND.

THANK YOU.

THAT ENDS OUR QUESTIONS PORTION OF TODAY'S NEWS CONFERENCE.

I WILL NOW HAND IT OFF TO CITY MANAGER, SPENCER CRONK FOR CLOSING REMARKS.

[00:30:02]

THANK YOU.

AND I JUST FIRST WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS INCREDIBLE TEAM THAT JOINED ME HERE THIS AFTERNOON, AND ALL OF OUR PARTNERS THROUGHOUT THIS COMMUNITY.

WE CARE SO MUCH ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND WE ALL ARE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS IMPLEMENTED IN A SAFE AND HUMANE WAY.

WE ARE WORKING HARD TO IDENTIFY PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO GO, AND WE ARE STAYING LASER FOCUSED ON ADDRESSING THE LONGER TERM NEEDS OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE ALL THESE COMMUNITY PARTNERS DEDICATED TO THE SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF OUR OWN UNHOUSED RESIDENTS, BUT TOGETHER WE WILL FIND WAYS TO TRANSITION THOSE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS OUT OF ENCAMPMENTS AND INTO SUPPORTIVE PERMANENT HOUSING.

WITH THAT.

I'LL TURN IT BACK TO STEPHANIE TO CLOSE THIS OUT.

THANK YOU ALL.

OKAY.

THANK YOU.

WE KNOW THE COMMUNITY WILL HAVE QUESTIONS AS WE PROGRESS THROUGH THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS.

SO THE CITY HAS SET UP A WEBPAGE WITH FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV/HOMELESSNESS, AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV/HOMELESSNESS.

THIS WEBPAGE WILL CONTINUE TO BE UPDATED AS MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS, INCLUDING THOSE WITHOUT HOUSING TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF PROPOSITION B.

THIS CONCLUDES TODAY'S NEWS CONFERENCE.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR ATTENDING

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.