AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the city continues to work on solutions to house people experiencing homelessness, nonprofit organizations and other community groups have been stepping up to help.
“There is a heightened awareness of the struggle of homelessness over the last couple of years,” said Amber Fogarty, president of Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
Since the camping ban went into effect, more people experiencing homelessness have moved into permanent and transitional housing. Community First! Village is one of the locations that has opened their doors.
“The average length of homelessness for people who live at Community First! Village is 10 years,” Fogarty said.
In 2015, Mobile Loaves and Fishes opened community first village, a 51-acre property that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness.
“It will take all of us to take care of the most vulnerable folks in our community,” Fogarty said. “We have seen so many companies, churches, schools say how can we help? How can we get involved?”
“You don’t have to be an expert in any of this,” said Melissa Nicewarner Daly, executive director of HomeAid Austin. “You just have to take that first step.”
HomeAid Austin, in partnership with 11 local homebuilders, built 15 tiny homes at Community First! Village.
“We partner very closely with the homebuilding industry and help service providers in a six county region with their renovations and construction projects,” Nicewarner Daly said.
Fogarty says when the community steps up, problems can be solved much quicker.
“They are donating their time and they are able to serve and create these beautiful homes to lift our neighbors off the street,” Fogarty said.
Mobile Loaves and Fishes also has plans to build 535 tiny homes on the property in the future.