Dell Foundation commits $38M to Austin nonprofits for housing solutions

A donation from the Dell Foundation will help Mobile Loaves & Fishes expand its Community First! Village for residents who were homeless. (Courtesy Austin Roofing and Construction)
A donation from the Dell Foundation will help Mobile Loaves & Fishes expand its Community First! Village for residents who were homeless. (Courtesy Austin Roofing and Construction)

A donation from the Dell Foundation will help Mobile Loaves & Fishes expand its Community First! Village for residents who were homeless. (Courtesy Austin Roofing and Construction)

The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation announced Nov. 30 it will donate $38 million to three Austin-based nonprofits in an effort to address homelessness in the city.

The foundation will donate $36.6 million to Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ Community First! Village to build 1,400 additional homes for those who are homeless, $1 million to Foundation Communities to construct 100 units at the Burleson Road property in Southeast Austin and $400,000 to LifeWorks to provide permanent housing for homeless youth.

"As Austin grows, it's more important than ever that we care for those most vulnerable in our communities," said Susan Dell, the foundation's co-founder and board chair, in a press release. "By coming together as a community, we can provide those experiencing homelessness in Central Texas with the dignity they deserve through stable housing and the opportunity to experience community again."

The Dell Foundation’s contribution, along with a September donation of $35 million from Travis County, will help MLF get a little over halfway to the $150 million needed to fund the project, MLF founder and CEO Alan Graham said. The nonprofit will use $50 million for supporting infrastructure and $100 million to build additional homes.

The Community First! Village houses over 300 residents. The village’s 127-acre, 1,400-home expansion project will span over two sites. The first site off Hog Eye Road sits across the original northeast Travis County Village’s current location, north of the second site on Burleson Road near Onion Creek. The construction, a part of the third and fourth phase of the village expansion, was announced in April.


“We're capable of building and onboarding about 250 people a year, building 250 homes a year,” Graham said. “It's going to take us about five or six years, [or] beyond that to finish.”

Phase 3 and 4 infrastructure construction is set to begin in summer 2022. The development includes hundreds of microhomes and supporting infrastructure, such as cooking facilities and entrepreneurship centers. Vertical construction is set to begin for housing and service buildings in 2023. Residents are projected to move after construction is completed in 2024, Graham said.

“The average age for the people in our village is 58 years old,” Graham said. “[The village] gets them off the streets and allows them to heal from the ravages of living on the streets. The assault on their mental and physical health is pretty extraordinary."

The village offers housing and support to those coming out of chronic homelessness. It will expand by 250 residents after Phase 2 completion in late 2022 to early 2023, Graham said. The expansion will build additional supporting infrastructure alongside mental health services, physical care and elder care services.

“The mission of Mobile Loaves and Fishes is to empower communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless,” Graham said. “This is really all about engaging the entire community, the entire city into the work that we're doing.”

Residents may make donations toward the fund online at www.mlf.org/capital-campaign.
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