AUSTIN (KXAN)– There will soon be new leadership at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) shelter.
Listed on next week’s city council agenda is a vote on whether to authorize a new, more than $4 million contract with a California-based company called Urban Alchemy.
This comes after the city announced on Monday they’ll be discontinuing their partnership with Front Steps, due to that group reorganizing internally.
If approved, the agreement with Urban Alchemy would start in August and run for 13 months.
Antony Jackson, founder of We Can Now, said he’s hoping to collaborate with the new group.
Jackson and his group offer short term help to neighbors experiencing homelessness.
“Food, water, fruits, clothes, hygiene– all the necessary things to survive on short term basis,” he explained.
He’s been working with folks at the homeless encampment near Krieg Fields for nearly a year now.
It’s where a fire broke out on Friday.
“Pretty quickly units determined that there was a little bit more smoke than is usual on a smoke investigation. So it got upgraded,” Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Bridges said.
Crews were able to contain the flames in about 10 minutes, and no one was injured, but the department called it a “huge hazard.”
“We found some some pressurized containers, propane acetylene welding torch and just some like– an RV propane tank, and a couple of those that were exposed to the fire, one of them actually exploded while our crews were extinguishing the fire,” Bridges said.
Jackson said what his clients there need most is housing.
“That’s the biggest thing in the picture is they are homeless, so they need housing, we need housing for them,” he said.
Jackson said he’s already met with Urban Alchemy leadership and plans to bring them to sites where he works, including the site at Krieg Fields, to get his clients on the next step to housing.
“Taking them to the encampments, letting them see so they know where the people are at and then ultimately getting the people connected with the resources that they need,” he said.