By Brett Funderburg
In July 2019, the Austin City Council voted to lift the ban on homeless camping in public spaces. Although camping without a permit remains expressly prohibited in public parks, since that time, the CCHOA board and many of our HOA Members have been nervously watching and waiting to see if and when Canyon Creek might be impacted by the growing population of homeless in the city . It has, unfortunately, recently come to the board’s attention that a homeless individual has begun loitering and sleeping overnight at the pavilion at Trailhead Park. Since Trailhead Park is operated by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, there is no obvious direct action that the HOA can undertake except to inform Members that this is a police matter.
We are aware that several Canyon Creek residents have been moved to supply this individual with food and other personal items. The same qualities in our residents that make Canyon Creek a community of good neighbors are on display here and we can certainly be proud of our willingness to help those in need. The board does recognize and appreciate that these efforts are coming from a place of caring and generosity by kind hearted individuals. However, we strongly discourage such acts as we believe this both dissuades those in need from seeking help from more appropriate resources and attracts others seeking to take advantage of the generosity and kindness of Canyon Creek residents.
Unless otherwise posted, park hours generally run from 5am to 10pm each day and overnight camping in public parks remains prohibited under the Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s current rules. If you observe violations of either of the above, we advise you to call 911 to report the activity. Additionally, threatening behavior, safety and security concerns and destruction of park property and facilities should be reported to 911 without delay.
Members observing homeless camping or similar activity such as campfires on HOA owned common areas such as the Community Center property or within the HOA greenbelt are requested to contact the board (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Spectrum management (email@example.com) as soon as possible. Camping without permission on private property is still prohibited under the current ordinances and any unauthorized individuals found on HOA private property will be removed for trespassing.
Finally, Members are encouraged to write our Mayor, Steve Adler (firstname.lastname@example.org) and District 6 Council Member, Jimmy Flannigan (email@example.com) and share their thoughts on how to handle the growing problem of homelessness in Austin and request that the council take decisive action on the matter.
On behalf of the CCHOA Board of Directors,