AUSTIN (KXAN) — We are getting a better idea of how the City of Austin plans to distribute millions of dollars to nonprofits to combat homelessness. Recently, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, or TDHCA, awarded nearly $65 million to Austin community groups addressing homelessness.

Tuesday morning, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson along with the Austin Downtown Alliance and other community leaders held a panel to discuss the plan.

“There is a lot going on in different ways with what we are doing with homelessness,” Watson said.

He urged a multi-faceted approach to combat homelessness in Austin.

“Too often, we make it more simple than it really is. It’s not as simple as this or that,” Watson said.

Panelists included Chris Baker, executive director with The Other Ones Foundation, Jo Kathryn Quinn, president & CEO of Caritas of Austin and Kirkpatrick Tyler, chief of government & community affairs of Urban Alchemy.

Tyler said Urban Alchemy will use some of the local and state funds to open its downtown shelter, the nonprofit was chosen to manage it and get the keys to the building Tuesday.

“We will do what we call life-saving renovations. So that means we paint it so it’s beautiful, making sure the air and heat work, making sure that the space is clean and comfortable,” Tyler said. “Just basic things to make sure people are safe, that it is a space they can enter with dignity and that it’s set up for optimal support for the residents that stay there.”

About Downtown Austin Alliance

The Downtown Austin Alliance (Downtown Alliance) works with key downtown stakeholders—property owners, residents, business owners, community organizations and government officials— to advance our collective vision for the future of downtown Austin. The Downtown Alliance is engaged in dozens of projects and issues that contribute to the safety, cleanliness and appeal of downtown Austin to residents, employees and visitors. As a full-time advocate for downtown, the Downtown Alliance is actively engaged in planning decisions that impact the area. It also advances downtown’s vision through direct services supporting safety and cleanliness. For more information, visit