In August, Community Impact Newspaper reporters and editors for our Northwest, Southwest and Central Austin editions spoke to homeless individuals, service providers, political leaders and experts to learn about an issue that has become increasingly urgent in the city.
We asked what factors caused the growing homelessness challenge locally and learned from those doing the work every day that a community-wide effort will be needed to reverse this worsening crisis. We also took a deep look at communities outside of the state of Texas that are struggling to find answers and those that have found proven, effective solutions to find out what Austin can learn from those communities.
Community Impact Newspaper will continue to report on homelessness, and we hope that this page will serve as a resource to all. Part of our mission is to build networks of engaged citizens in the local neighborhoods we cover, which means we have a responsibility to inform our readers not just about the challenges in our city but also connect residents with those seeking solutions. To find information on 29 local organizations working to end homelessness in Austin, check the end of this page and each article.
Spike in Austin homelessness sparks cry for all-hands response
Our Central, Southwest and Northwest Austin editions explore the symptoms of the city’s homeless crisis and how community groups are working with the city to offer support to those individuals in need. Read story
Austin between ends of national spectrum on homelessness
Austin is not the only economically successful American city where homelessness has become an increasingly pressing and urgent concern. Community Impact Newspaper looked at Austin’s crisis in the context of its national peers, examining communities where the problem is growing and asking what can be learned from those that have successfully addresses homelessness. Read story
STATISTICS ON HOMELESSNESS
people experienced homelessness in United States.
of all people experiencing homelessness nationwide (counted on a single night in 2018) were classified as chronically homeless.
people experienced homelessness in Austin.
were chronically homeless.
Sources: U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development 2018 Annual Homelessness report to Congress, ending community homeless coalition / Community Impact Newspaper
Number of people who experienced homelessness
The number of people who experience homelessness for any amount of time in a year in Austin has increased over the last several years.
Although the homeless population has grown 13% since 2015, chronic homelessness has skyrocketed.
How can you help?
As homelessness continues to become a more serious issue in Austin, these local organizations are doing the work to help homeless individuals get off the streets and provide solutions for the community. This list of resources is noncomprehensive.
Outreach and support
Art from the Streets is a volunteer-run art studio that serves the homeless community. The organization hosts shows throughout the year with proceeds going directly to the homeless artists.
PO Box 20274, Austin
Austin Humanists at Work collects and distributes personal care items once a month in Central Austin to people experiencing homelessness and of limited means. Volunteers help with donation pickups and fundraising drives and knit hats, scarves and washcloths.
11900 Metric Blvd., Ste. J172, Austin
Best Single Source Plus is a collaboration of 12 local nonprofits that works to end homelessness by providing case management services and financial assistance to families in Travis County. The agencies are: AIDS Services of Austin, Any Baby Can, Caritas of Austin, Catholic Charities Central Texas, Family Eldercare, Foundation for the Homeless, Front Steps, Goodwill of Central Texas, LifeWorks, Meals on Wheels Central Texas, SAFE Alliance and the Salvation Army.
Casa Marianella provides shelter and safe housing to displaced immigrants. The shelters also offer support services to help immigrants receive access to the resources they need. According to Casa Marianella, 65% of its shelter residents are asylum seekers.
821 Gunter St., Austin
Caritas of Austin works to prevent and end homelessness in the Austin area. Volunteers work in the organization’s community kitchen, provide administrative support to staff members and work with clients directly.
611 Neches St., Austin
9027 Northgate Blvd., Austin
CommUnity Care operates a clinic inside the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless that serves only patients who are experiencing homelessness. On-site services include behavioral health care, psychiatry and case management.
500 E. Seventh St., Austin
Emancipet’s 4PAWS program provides no-cost pet care services like spaying and neutering, vaccines, bloodwork or x-rays at no cost to the pet owner. The program is offered at Emancipet’s Central Austin branch, according to 2-1-1 Texas. A referral from a social service provider is required.
1030 Norwood Park Blvd., Austin
Front Steps works to provide a pathway home for those experiencing homelessness by promoting community awareness and offering emergency shelter, affordable housing, recuperative medical care and supportive services. Volunteers help with the hygiene and mail desk, the resource desk, the computer lab, dinner service and administration duties. Orientation is offered twice a month.
500 E. Seventh St., Austin
Green Doors creates affordable housing, provides supportive services, educates the community about homelessness and advocates for homeless individuals and families—all with the goal to end homelessness in Central Texas.
1503 S I-35, Austin
The Other Ones Foundation began a pilot program in October in conjunction with Family Eldercare that provides employment to homeless individuals as an alternative to panhandling. In addition, the foundation is working on developing a fleet of mobile homeless shelters.
The SAFE Alliance works to stop abuse by providing safety, stability and healing to survivors of sexual violence. Services include face-to-face support, education and advocacy, and the SAFE Alliance operates two shelters totaling 135 beds for individuals, families, teen parents and children.
4800 Manor Rd., Bldg. A, Austin
1515 Grove Blvd., Austin
Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center provides integrated services to homeless individuals throughout Austin, including medical consultations, social services consultations, document storage, drug and alcohol treatment referrals and more. Food and showers are also available. Sunrise partners with a range of Austin organizations. The Navigation Center is based out of Sunrise Community Church.
4430 Manchaca Road, Austin.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid provides free legal services to low-income Texans. The group includes a specialized Advocacy for the Homeless team, which provides legal assistance to the homeless in cases regarding housing, employment or public benefits.
Photo courtesy of Caritas of Austin
Youth and family services
The Austin Youth Collective to End Homelessness is comprised of 18-to-24 year olds who have experienced homelessness, foster care or the justice system. The organization works with other community partners with a goal to bring an end to youth homelessness in the city.
Foundation Communities provides affordable, attractive housing to families and individuals with low incomes across the city. The Children’s Home Initiative program offers rents at 140 apartment units that are further reduced from the rest of Foundation Communities’ affordable housing rates. The program helps provide housing to extremely low-income parents with children who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
3036 S. First St., Austin
Foundation for the Homeless operates a family rehousing shelter with 26 beds for families with children and mobilized community resources to fight homelessness in the community.
PO Box 140946, Austin
LifeWorks provides programs for youth in the community to connect those young people with homes, work, and services in counseling and psychiatry to address conflict and trauma.
835 N. Pleasant Valley Road
3700 S. First St.,
8913 Collinfield Drive
Saint Louise House provides stable housing, support and services to homeless women with children. The program is designed to help women who need more than emergency shelters can give, but do not qualify for other housing programs.
PO Box 150637, Austin
Street Youth Ministry is a day center that provides homeless young adults with resources including counseling, food and clothing. The organization also hosts events such as movie and game nights.
408 W. 23rd St., Austin
Photo credit: Blake Busch
City or public resources
Austin ISD’s Project Help provides assistance to students experiencing homelessness and protects their educational rights. The staff also maintains partnerships with other community organizations.
2613 Rogers Ave., Room 207, Austin
The Ending Community Homeless Coalition, or ECHO, is the lead agency in Austin that develops strategies to end homelessness in the community. ECHO coordinates among local nonprofits and government agencies to find housing for homeless individuals in Austin.
300 Highland Mall Blvd., Austin
The Homeless Outreach Street Team, or HOST, is a team that consists of of two police officers, two behavioral health specialists, a paramedic and a social worker that works primarily in the downtown and West Campus areas to address the needs of the homeless before homeless individuals violate laws or ordinances that could lead to arrest or a trip to a medical facility.
Integral Care’s Path/Access program assists adults who are homeless, living with a mental illness or dealing with substance abuse find the resources to get help. Integral Care also operates the SafeHaven shelter, which provides 15 beds for homeless veterans.
Multiple locations in Travis County
Photo credit: Community Impact Newspaper Staff
Hill Country Community Ministries is a coalition of churches that works with area partners to provide assistance for residents of southwest Williamson and northwest Travis counties who are living in crisis.
1005 Lacy Drive, Leander
Mobile Loaves & Fishes is a social outreach ministry for individuals experiencing homelessness. The nonprofit provides food, clothing and other items every night of the year. Volunteers serve on a food truck or at the organization’s Community First! Village, master-planned development designed for individuals coming out of chronic homelessness.
9301 Hog Eye Road, Ste. 950, Austin
Lighter Loads ATX provides services that range from mobile laundry and bathing, hygiene kits, clothing, haircuts and meals. The faith-based organization plans to soon add medical, dental and vision checkups to its services.
Mission: Possible! Austin is a family of ministries that are dedicated to fighting poverty in the community. The organization’s programs include “Church Under the Bridge,” a service on Sundays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. under I-35 between Seventh and Eighth streets that provides a meal to all attendees.
1190 Chicon St., Austin
The ReWork Project provides homeless individuals the opportunity to make handcrafted outdoor wood products such as tote boxes or picnic tables. The products are sold on the ReWork Project’s website, with all profits going directly to the workers.
4201 S. Congress St., Austin
Trinity Center Austin offers programs for the homeless throughout the week that range from meals and events to Sunday church services. The program began in 1999 as a Sunday-only ministry and has expanded over the last 20 years.
304 E. Seventh St., Austin
Photo Courtesy of Mobile Loaves and Fishes
Homeless and need help?
The Coordinated Assessment Application is a survey that helps service providers connect homeless individuals with community resources. The following three locations offer walk-in assessments, according to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition website.
- Goodwill of Central Texas: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., Austin
- The Southeast Health and Wellness Clinic: 2901 Montopolis Drive, Austin
- Trinity Center (Mondays and Tuesdays are women only): 304 Seventh St., Austin
211 Texas is a service from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that can connect residents to services they need. 211 presents information from state and local health and human services programs. The service is free and anonymous, and the hotline is available at all times.
SHELTER BEDS IN AUSTIN
The Salvation Army’s Rathgeber Center was scheduled to open in the summer but has been delayed by several months. Meanwhile, the city is developing a new shelter in South Austin on Ben White Boulevard. When those two shelters open, the city of Austin will have more than 1,000 shelter beds for the homeless.