AUSTIN (KXAN) — Furthering his commitment to ending homelessness in Austin, City Manager Spencer Cronk created a new position called the “Homeless Strategy Officer.”
Lori Pampilo Harris will fill the role starting Sept. 9.
“The City of Austin is willing to take a fresh look, with hopeful eyes, at one of our most intractable issues – homelessness,” Harris said. “We want the discussions and strategy to be about ending homelessness for our most vulnerable community members, not just coping with homelessness.”
Harris has worked for Habitat for Humanity and, most recently, worked for the City of Orlando as its Senior Adviser on Homelessness and Social Services.
“Lori had the unique and ambitious goal of implementing ‘Housing First’ and supported the successful end to chronic veterans’ homelessness and reducing homelessness by 23.6% in a single year,” according to a press release from the City of Austin.
Harris becomes the City of Austin’s first Homeless Strategy Officer, although Veronica Briseño had served as the interim HSO since March. The announcement of her new role came on the same day Cronk presented a budget proposal that would put $63 million toward support and services for the homeless, a $17 million increase from what was set aside this year.
“Creating a comprehensive plan in which the public, private, philanthropic and local homeless providers are working together to achieve transformational results is critical,” Harris said.