Austin Needs Homes Not Handcuffs

Sign the Petition!

Read: Sign On Letter to Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Austin City Council in Favor of Repealing Ordinances That Criminalize Homelessness

Read the Report here: Homes Not Handcuffs: How Austin Criminalizes Homelessness

Photos from the April 2, 2018 protest

The three ordinances that specifically target and criminalize Austin’s homeless residents are:

  1. “No camping” (§9.4.11) – People often receive citations under this ordinance for storing personal belongings in public areas, sleeping in a vehicle, or otherwise appearing to be living in a public area.

  2. “No panhandling” (§9.4.13) – In theory this only applies to “aggressive solicitation,” in practice homeless people are cited for ordinary panhandling.

  3. “No sit/lie” (§9.4.14) – This ordinance forbids sitting or lying down in certain areas of downtown Austin. Homeless people are often cited simply for resting outside, even if they are not blocking pedestrian traffic or otherwise causing any harm.

Related Posts

#HomesNotHandcuffs victory is under attack. Fight back with this social media toolkit!

Our #HomesNotHandcuffs victory is under attack by a targeted misinformation campaign that is trying to undermine the work we did to decriminalize homelessness in Austin.

We need your help to fight back against folks online who are spreading lies and fear. Not sure what to say? Check out this social media toolkit: Read more about #HomesNotHandcuffs victory is under attack. Fight back with this social media toolkit!

BREAKING: Austin City Council takes steps to decriminalize homelessness, advocates say the fight continues

AUSTIN, TX — The Austin City Council voted early Friday morning in favor of Item 185, ending the criminalization for some unavoidable behaviors associated with extreme poverty and homelessness.

The measure modifies Austin’s ordinances criminalizing sitting and lying down and camping unless the activity endangers the health and safety of the individual or the public.   Read more about BREAKING: Austin City Council takes steps to decriminalize homelessness, advocates say the fight continues

PRESS ADVISORY: Stop criminalizing homelessness: Homes Not Handcuffs coalition to rally at Austin City Hall prior to vote

 

WHAT: Community rally and press conference

WHO:  Homes Not Handcuffs coalition, Council Member Greg Casar and Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison

WHEN:   Thursday, June 20th 2019; 6:00 CST

WHERE: Austin City Hall, outside plaza

Additional Notes: Paid parking available at City Hall Parking Garage

  Read more about PRESS ADVISORY: Stop criminalizing homelessness: Homes Not Handcuffs coalition to rally at Austin City Hall prior to vote

May 9, 2019
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Austin Chronicle

Women’s Jail Closer to Funding

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted last week to issue a debt package that includes initial funding for a new women's jail – despite the objections of justice advocates who, for more than a year, have identified the proposed facility as a troubling move away from efforts to decrease incarceration in Travis County.

Several Travis County agencies, along with the Austin City Council and groups such as Grassroots Leadership, have embraced programs and policies aimed at reducing jail bookings for minor offenses such as driving with an invalid license, public intoxication, and marijuana possession. This is in part a budget measure – incarceration costs to taxpayers will grow $10 million this year over 2018 – but also reflects the community's commitment to restorative justice.

These strategies seem to be making a difference; female bookings for misdemeanors are down 24% since 2016, and 2019's average overall daily population is the lowest it's been in six years. That's what makes the Commis­sion­ers Court's move to fund a new jail for women inmates controversial and why the county responded to advocate concerns and held off on funding last year. But on April 23 the court put the jail, currently budgeted at more than $80 million, back on the list of projects to be funded by certificates of obligation; then on April 30, commissioners voted to issue the CO package, with $6.6 million in design and pre-construction funding. Read more about Women’s Jail Closer to Funding

ADVISORY: Growing Coalition Calls on Next Austin City Council to Stop Criminalizing Homelessness

For immediate release: December 12, 2018
Contact: Chris Harris, charris@grassrootsleadership.org, 512-897-0703

Recent pledges from re-elected council members and a trio of recent reports build momentum for repeal of Austin’s anti-homeless ordinances in 2019

WHAT: Press conference
WHO: Austin DSA, Grassroots Leadership, Gathering Ground Theatre, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Texas Appleseed, Texas Fair Defense Project, The Challenger, Trinity Center, University United Methodist Church
WHEN:   Thursday, December 13 at 6pm
WHERE: Austin City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St., Austin, Texas Read more about ADVISORY: Growing Coalition Calls on Next Austin City Council to Stop Criminalizing Homelessness

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