New program to keep Austin Clean!

AUSTIN, Texas —Garbage is starting to fill violet bags instead of Austin streets and underpasses.

The bags are part of the city's latest efforts to combat homelessness.

At the underpass of I-183 and Cameron sits several violet trash bags.

"They handed me three or four of them, and I used them they came by and picked them up," said Walter Derrell, who is homeless.

That's exactly what the city is hoping the homeless will do, use them.

The bags are a part of a six-week pilot program the city is trying out to help with garage clean-up.

Each Friday, city workers will pick up the trash bags at each designated location:

-U.S. 183 and Ohlen Road

-U.S. 183 and Cameron Road

-I-35 and Cesar Chavez

-Highway 71 and Pack Saddle Pass

Texas Homeless Network President Eric Samuels said working with the homeless population is key in combating the issue.

"I think this is a way they can contribute to the situation giving them the opportunity, people will do what you see, clean up," Samuels said.

He said that includes more affordable housing and supportive housing for those on the verge of homelessness.

"Number one, we need to get people into housing and keep people in housing whenever possible, before they fall into homelessness," Samuels said.

Samuels said it's an issue both city and state should be working on together.

"We do applaud the new ordinance modifications," Samuels said. "Because we don’t want laws out there that criminalize homelessness."

As the city continues to try new approaches like the garbage collection program, Samuels agrees that it's a step in the right direction.

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