AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department and employees from Integral Care met with community members Thursday night to address questions and concerns about a new apartment complex that will house the homeless in East Austin.
Terrace at Oak Springs is set to open in May. It’s currently under construction at 3000 Oak Springs Drive.
It’s designed to help people who struggle with homelessness coupled with mental health issues or substance abuse.
“When somebody has a safe and stable place to call home, that’s when their recovery can begin,” said Dr. Chris Laguna of Integral Care.
Integral Care will house 50 people who struggle with chronic homelessness at the complex. 25 of them will be veterans, Laguna said.
According to Integral Health, the complex will have 50 furnished, single occupancy efficiency units, along with a health clinic. It will be staffed 24 hours a day.
“They’ll have access to mental health care, they’ll have access to primary care,” Laguna said. “They’ll have additional support like to help them get a job or apply for benefits.”
The apartment building will also have its own library, community room and a community garden.
“We need more places like this, so we can get people off the streets and we can attend to their mental health needs, keep them stabilized, keep them out of a crisis situation and, by translation, keep them from committing crimes,” said Austin Assistant Police Chief Justin Newsom.
Newsom says the area in which Terrace at Oak Springs is being built already has a homeless issue, with people camping nearby, so he feels the complex can only help.
“There are some misconceptions about it, that it’s going to become a new ARCH. It’s not a homeless shelter,” Newsom said. You have people with these services wrapped around them, with people on staff that they can go to whenever they’re in crisis and people that can keep an eye out to make sure that the grounds there don’t devolve into something unsafe for the neighborhood.”
Newsom says the area’s commander checks crime stats weekly, and if officers see any extra crime pop up once the apartments open, he says they’ll address it.
Terrace at Oak Springs is set to open in May. Laguna says Integral Care will begin taking applicants a month or two out.
APD and Integral Care will continue to hold community meetings monthly, through the complex’s grand opening, to keep an open dialogue with neighbors.