AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin-based nonprofit is hoping to put a face on those experiencing homelessness by telling the stories of those who don’t have a place to call home.
Dusty Monroe founded Humanize Austin in 2020 and just started taking on clients.
“The participants we are looking for may be the invisible homeless that truly want to get help,” said Monroe. “Those that are leveraging lots of resources around the city, but they have fallen down on their times.”
Humanize Austin clients receive a sign or business cards with a QR code on them. When scanned, that QR code then takes people to a website which shows a client’s story and job experience. You can also leave an uplifting message or words of encouragement.
Kenneth Trotter is one of three clients the nonprofit is helping so far.
“I have two jobs right now and I am saving money,” said Trotter. He is one of the thousands in Austin who are experiencing homelessness.
“I see a lot of the addiction on the street and they don’t have the desire to want to change,” said Trotter.
Trotter has struggled with addiction in the past, but did want a better life. He is now sober and staying at the Salvation Army until he can get a place of his own.
“I had no idea that it would help me the way it has,” Trotter said as he discussed Humanize Austin. “There are a lot of us that really want to do something with ourselves.”
Trotter smiled as he saw the comments left on his page.
“This lady commented last night, ‘Very proud of you for being able to remain sober and drug free,'” said Monroe.
It has been a tough journey for Trotter, but with the chance to share his story and with the support of his new friends, he says the future is bright. He says he hopes to go back to school and become a drug counselor. He would also like to own his own restaurant one day.
Humanize Austin currently has three clients it’s working to find jobs for with hopes to grow to about 50 clients by the end of the year.
Monroe says due to health concerns he will have to step down from his position. He will be looking for a replacement and is hoping to name someone soon.