City of Austin
The EWB-GA Local Projects Team has partnered with the City of Austin to help address lack of clean drinking water and sanitation (hand washing, showers) for the city’s homeless population. People experiencing homelessness in Austin has become a divisive issue. When Proposition B passed in May 2021, the City began dismantling camps in public areas, without providing alternative places from campers to go. Consequently, people experiencing homelessness have moved to less visible places (e.g. into the woods) which means less access to sanitation and other services. Lack of sanitation can spread disease, prevent employment, and causes suffering. In 2020, 256 people died on the streets of Austin (not necessarily due to lack of sanitation).
The project team plans to address this issue with portable showers and handwashing stations. The goal is to create a modular design that can be transported from camp to camp.
A recent census counted a homeless population in Austin of 3,160 people (ECHO 2021 Census). This is a slight decrease from the previous year, but an 8% increase from 2019. The ban on evictions expired August 1, 2021, which could increase the population. While some members of the homeless community are employed, others support themselves through panhandling or donations.
Current Project Status
The project team has had multiple meetings with CoA PARD, Austin Public Health and has conducted some homeless camp visits. The team has conceptually designed a portable shower. House Bill 1925 passed in May 2021 and prohibits using city owned parkland for homeless camps. This has prompted the team to make some changes to the project, including finding a new partner client at the city.
The City of Austin Local team meets virtually weekly on Tuesdays.
For more information or to get involved, please email