AUSTIN (KXAN) — Efforts to get people off the streets and into housing continue in Austin, but where are we in the fight to end homelessness?
“I think we are behind where we would like to be,” said Dianna Grey, homeless strategy officer with the City of Austin. “But the aggressive efforts right now with council’s dedication of over $100 million of the American Rescue Plan Act funds toward this effort is really critical.”
When the camping ban went into effect, many encampments were removed. However, some camps continue to pop up around the city. With shelter space full, many people are moving deeper into the woods, or have nowhere to go after the camps are removed.
“The fact that we have an ordinance that will be enforced did not mean we had the capacity to give people a place they could go,” Grey said.
With limited shelter space, Grey said efforts continue to add more housing which is vital to getting people off the streets.
“We are looking for opportunities where we have the faith-based community who might have space and services providers who might have volunteers that can come together and we might be able to fund additional shelters that way,” Grey said.
Construction crews are hard at work at the Esperanza Community in southeast Austin.
“So we are going to build 200 individual units like this one,” said Max Moscoe, The Other Ones Foundation spokesperson.
The site will serve as transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness.
“The journey from living on the streets to living in stable housing can be a long complicated journey,” Moscoe said. “Since April we have put 75 of our clients into stable housing and we currently have 85 people staying in emergency shelters.”
The nonprofit Ending Community Homeless Coalition developed a new methodology to estimate the number of people who experience homelessness on a given day. This method uses data collected over time through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), current estimates show there are about 3,200 people currently experiencing homelessness in Austin.