AUSTIN (KXAN) — City heads received an update on its new homelessness shelter contracts on Friday, after Austin City Council approved the latest agreements in late July.

Austin City Council authorized a new emergency agreement for operation of the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) and the Southbridge shelters. Under the approved agreements, the Austin Area Urban League would operate the Southbridge Shelter will Urban Alchemy would oversee the ARCH.

Alongside those agreements included actions council directed city heads to make. One included staff hiring prioritizations, directing City Manager Spencer Cronk to prioritize rehiring Front Steps staff at the Southbridge and ARCH shelters.

Per Friday’s update, interviews had been conducted and the city “prioritized the hiring of existing staff,” with Urban Alchemy making job offers to 92% of those interviewed for roles at the ARCH. All 92% of those who interviewed were then offered a position.

At the Southbridge Shelter, Austin Area Urban League interviewed and hired 90% of the staff working there.

The city will also deliver quarterly reports to council that include performance and operations data at the Southbridge and ARCH shelter locations. Agencies will send their first quarterly report to Austin Public Health on Jan. 15, and staff will review and report on said performances by March 1.

Reporting metrics include:

  • Number of unduplicated clients served;
  • Number, percentage of households residing in shelter program who are receiving case management services;
  • Total number of beds used per night;
  • Number of, resolutions to all client grievance reports; and,
  • Client satisfaction survey data.

The Ending Homelessness Strategy Coalition (ECHO) and Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division are working on an assessment of the city’s total shelter system. It’ll review the current shelter portfolio, system performance measures and include “a robust community engagement plan that will center persons with lived experience.”

Information gathered will be taken and used to help develop long-term shelter system recommendations.