Housing-Focused Shelter (Item 179)

FYI - from Ann Kitchen’s office regarding the new homeless shelter on Ben White


Council to Purchase Real Estate for Housing Center on June 20th

Council Member Ann Kitchen

District 5, Austin, Texas

June 17, 2019

Housing-Focused Shelter

Dear Neighbors,

People need a place to live.

If Austin is going to address homelessness, the long-term answer is that people need a safe, healthy place to live. No person should have to live under a highway. That’s not good for anyone, it’s not good for our neighborhoods and it’s not good for Austin.

That’s why the City Council is taking action this Thursday to help fill in a missing piece in Austin’s response to homelessness. Recommended as a best practice by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Council will vote to take the next steps to develop a pilot Housing-Focused Shelter.

In a few words, a Housing–Focused Shelter is a secure, welcoming, and temporary place for people to live that focuses on providing the services they need to get into permanent housing as quickly as possible.

Facts on a Housing-Focused Shelter:

· Services are provided for 100% of the people living at the center, tailored to their needs

· Services are geared to allow self-sufficiency and meet daily living needs

· This is not a drop-in center; services are only available for people while staying at the center

· Individuals not staying at the center are not allowed to gather outside

· People are referred by agencies serving homeless individuals, with the goal of providing a shelter for people staying in nearby encampments

· There is no drop-in services and no intake location

This Thursday, June 20th, the City Council will consider items 177, 178, 179.The items will authorize negotiation and purchase of a building along Ben White Blvd, which is at 1112 W. Ben White (see map here).

Our community has a critical need for this new kind of shelter that is designed and managed to help homeless individuals get a real chance to find a permanent home.

But it also has to work for our community. That’s why restrictions will be placed on the property, including securing the property, not allowing camping, limits of no more than 100 beds, and services only for people living there. The vision and plan is to pilot a new kind of shelter that serves as a community asset, offering people an alternative to living under highways and in greenbelts.

I understand the concerns that people may have – South Austinites want to help those in need but are also concerned about the public health and safety issues we are seeing on our streets.

It comes down to the fact that this situation will not resolve itself and, without action, it will only worsen. It’s time for Austin to take more immediate strategic action to address homelessness. I believe, and the city must ensure, that a Housing-Focused Shelter operates as a good neighbor.

Please give me a call to let me know if you have questions or concerns (512.978.2105). You can also see this Fact Sheet with background information and questions/answers that I hope you find helpful.

Best Regards,

Ann Kitchen

City Council, District 5



City Council Member Ann Kitchen - District5@austintexas.gov

Constituent Liaison - Dora.Anguiano@austintexas.gov

Policy Advisor - Jason.Lopez@austintexas.gov

Sr Policy Advisor - Ken.Craig@austintexas.gov

Chief of Staff - Donna.Tiemann@austintexas.gov

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City of Austin, District 5 | 301 West 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701