Austin is the Capital of Texas, located in the center of the state along the Colorado River. With a population of 690,252 Austin is the fourth largest city in the state.
The city is known for is liberal political leanings, in a very politically conservative state. However, most of Austin's Greater Metropolitan area tends to be conservative.
The population of Austin is very diverse. Every year thousands of students graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and provide a steady stream of workers. Another large demographic in Austin is Mexican immigrants.
Part of Austin's culture revolves around live music. The city's official slogan is the Live Music Capital of the World.
The area east of I-35 in Austin tends to be poorer with higher crime rates.
As is mentioned below, the Barton Creek Greenbelt has alot of large cliffs with caves in them. These caves are routinely used for shelter, as they provide a shady, windy, and generally private place to stay.
- Austin Food Not Bombs West meets every Sunday at 6 P.M. at Woolridge Park (Guadalupe and 9th street) to share vegetarian food. Everyone is welcome to attend. Anyone interested in cooking is also welcome to come help us cook at 3 P.M. at the Rhizome Collective. 
- If you have an open mind, there is a Buddhist temple on 6720 N Capital Of Texas Hwy that serves you a free (or at least very cheap) vegetarian meal if you sit through or participate in a service. The service is every Sunday at 11:00 AM and lasts an hour long, however the time of the service and length varies. 
There are three Planned parenthood locations in Austin:
- Downtown Clinic - 1823 East 7th Street [[]]
- South Austin Clinic - 201 East Ben White Blvd. [[]]
- North Austin Clinic - 9041 Research Blvd., Suite 250 [[]]
Armed Forces/Deployment Avoidance Counseling
The Austin GI Rights Hotline provides service men and women with free information about military rights and regulations. They are in no way affiliated with the U.S. government. They ask only as much as they need to know to provide accurate information about your situation. They are run by trained volunteers who are dedicated to your privacy and well-being.
From the national network website :
"Since 1994, the GI Rights Hotline has been providing free, confidential, and accurate information on US military regulations and practices to service members, veterans, potential recruits, and their families. We are a consortium of more than twenty non-governmental, non-profit organizations located in more than fifteen states and in Germany. Some of our counselors are veterans, some are lawyers and some have decades of military counseling experience. We are in constant contact with each other to stay up-to-date on the latest military regulations and practices. We provide resources and counseling options. Many of us are not lawyers and therefore cannot give legal advice, but, in cases in which an attorney might be useful, we may be able to help you find one."
Austin has an array of parkland covering over 16,600 acres. Although many of these parks are great and have lots of stuff to do, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of the most popular parklands in Austin. It has hundreds of acres of thick trees, trails, creeks, swimming holes, and cliffs with caves in them.
The Texas Memorial Museum is always free, and is a very good place to kill time and learn a few things. It is on the UT Campus.
The Austin Chronicle is a free alternative weekly newspaper available at hundreds of newsstands throughout Austin. Being the Live Music Capital of the World, there are a few music zines and underground papers available in random places. Coffee News and The Onion (the former a general paper, the latter a satire good for a laugh or two) are other alternative newspapers worth picking up if you see one, but only because they make all their money from ads and are free.
A lot of houseless folks sleep in the park on 9th and Guadalupe downtown. Next to it is the large Faulk Central Library (8th & Guadalupe, not far from the Capitol), where lots of houseless and streetkids go shave in the bathroom and take advantage of free books, internet, air conditioning and heat. It even has an area to eat snacks and vending machines... The employees are also cool with homeless, though they don't allow bedrolls or blankets.
All public transportation in Austin is run by Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority, or Cap Metro, as is known in Austin. It is a bus system which runs through a vast majority of the city. It also has a 'Dillo service that runs through downtown and is free. The 'Dillo is easy to spot for it's resemblance to a green trolley. On ozone action days in the summer, all Cap Metro buses are free.
Free Clothing and Furniture
There are quite a lot of good thrift stores in Austin that provide an interesting array of clothing. There are several Goodwills, but also a quick drive around the right parts of the city or a quick internet search will reveal to you some of the other thrift stores. Generally, the non-Goodwill stores have better prices and a more eclectic selection.
Free Cycle Austin: Free Cycle Austin is an web site that provides listings of free items .
Free Listings on Craigslist Austin: Craigslist's Austin web site has listings of free items .
Bulk item pick-up: About every 6 months, the City of Austin waste services department has scheduled pick-ups of large items. The days before this provide a lot of options for motivated scavengers to pick up free items.