50-unit apartment complex to house the homeless opens in east Austin

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A 50-unit apartment complex meant to house the homeless celebrated the end of construction Monday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in east Austin.

The Terrace at Oak Springs is a four-story, 40,000-square-foot building at 3000 Oak Springs Dr. with 50 fully-furnished single-occupancy units. The goal is to have 25 homeless veterans and 25 other people experiencing homelessness move in so they can get the support they need.

“I am so proud this community is in District 1,” said city council member Natasha Harper-Madison at the ceremony. “I am so glad we have a reputation of sticking together and supporting all of our residents, all of our neighbors, no matter where they are in their lives.”

The complex is part of the “housing first” model of addressing homelessness, in which proponents believe a safe place to live is the starting point to helping them successfully recover from mental illness or substance abuse. In addition to having fully-furnished units, the complex also has a health care clinic, employment and wellness services and people who will assist residents in getting benefits.

Integral Care runs the complex, but partners with groups in the community to support those who live there.

“We need our community to come together to create solutions for homelessness,” said William Buster of the St. David’s Foundation. “This building and clinic are examples of the community working together to solve these problems. But this project cannot be the end of our work.”

The latest point-in-time count of homeless in Austin, conducted in January, found 2,255 people in the city are either living on the streets, in shelters or in transitional housing. That’s an increase from the 2018 count of 2,147.

Terrace at Oak Springs Residents must be “chronically homeless” and are selected after they complete a Coordinated Assessment. Rent is based on an individual’s income, and people can use housing vouchers to help pay for it. The lowest amount for rent is $25, according to Integral Care. Residents sign a one-year lease and have the option to renew each year if they follow the terms of the lease and don’t exceed the income requirement.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m., the community is invited to tour the complex during a community celebration. There will be free pizza and snow cones, as well as arts and crafts for kids.

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