AUSTIN (KXAN) – The woman in charge of Austin’s homeless strategy assured members of the Public Health Committee Wednesday that no one will be forced out into the streets when a downtown shelter closes Saturday.
On Feb. 17, Salvation Army announced it would be closing its downtown shelter March 15, citing it could not continue to offer the desired level and quality of care due to the age and condition of the facility. At the time, 97 people were using the shelter.
Dianna Gray, the city’s Homeless Strategy Officer, said the Salvation Army agreed to extend the shelter for another month and will close it by April 15.
Gray told the PHC there were three people left at the downtown shelter as of Wednesday.
Those three would be relocated to the NorthBridge shelter, located on 7400 North Interstate 35, over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, Gray said.
Gray presented a breakdown of where people had gone after they left the downtown shelter as of April 5.
- 42% Emergency Shelter
- 15% Permanent Housing
- 10% Friends and Family
- 4% Hotels
- 5% Other Exits
- 24% Unsheltered or Unknown
As for those who are listed as “unsheltered or unknown” Gray told the PHC, “they may have gone to housing, to friends or family, or to other locations.” She says the city does have a list of names from its Homeless Management Information System and “for at least 30 days we will retain an invitation to shelter for those individuals.”
According to a memo released March 22 from the City of Austin Homeless Strategy Division, 71 people had left the downtown shelter since Feb. 17.
The city memo says the Salvation Army reports that clients have gone to a variety of locations, including the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, A New Entry, Community First! Village, Lifeworks, the SAFE shelter, as well as hotels provided through Front Steps veterans programming, and other permanent rental housing.