AUSTIN (KXAN) — Officials announced Friday that 300 more housing vouchers – including 100 for veterans – will be allocated to housing projects around Austin as a part of the city’s ambitious effort to end homelessness.
The 300 vouchers have a price tag of over $93 million and will be utilized over the next 20 years. Each of these housing vouchers costs around $1,300 a month.
The resources announced Friday are reserved for Austin’s chronically homeless and will offer critical supportive services to ensure the individuals and families stay housed. Austin Mayor Kirk Watson and U.S. Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman were among the officials announcing the award.
“The goal is to lift up our homeless neighbors, provide them with a safe place to call home, and then connect them to critical case management and supportive services, including access to community-based health care, educational support, job training, and life skills,” said Mike Gerber, CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin.
“It took our community a long time to get to the present level of need that we see with our homeless neighbors. And it’ll take a long time to address those needs and to get people effectively housed. But the resources that Mayor Watson, Secretary Todman and I are announcing today are part of that community-wide effort,” he continued.
“It’s a happy day,” Watson said. “Because on a day like today, we’re doing something that we ought to all be happy about.”
“Pairing a person who has experienced chronic homelessness is hard work. It’s emotional work,” Todman said. “Thank you all for having the hands of all the many homeless people here in Austin. I know your work is hard; I know it is not done; I know it is thankless; I am here to thank you.”
The 300 housing vouchers for the chronically homeless allocated today brings the total number of these types of vouchers up to 741, Gerber said. There are other types of housing vouchers Austinites can apply for if they need assistance.
Mary Apostolou, who sits on the Housing Authority of Board of Directors, was in the crowd listening to the announcements Friday. Several years ago she wasn’t able to stay in her apartment due to rising costs. At the time, she applied for a housing voucher, and after waiting three years, she got it.
“I was disabled and a senior already. It was sad,” she said. “It was a lifesaver. It provided a roof over my head, hot and cold running water, and rent that I could afford to pay. So it was a lifesaver,” she continued.
Apostolou said the announcement Friday is a dream come true.
“This is a big deal,” she said. “We appreciate everything… We are very, very happy today.”