AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the homeless crisis continues in Austin, nonprofits are finding themselves on the front lines trying to help people get off the streets.
However, some people who go through the steps to get off the streets are ending back where they started, but The Other Ones Foundation is hoping the Esperanza Community can stop that from happening.
“The solution to homelessness is all about community,” said TOOF Executive Director Chris Baker. “When someone has a sense of home, a sense of community and belonging, the drive to retain that is much stronger.”
Baker said that was why the Esperanza Community, run by TOOF, is working to create a place where people can get the help they need and then move into permanent housing.
“I had a backpack and a pocket full of hope,” said James Robins, who was homeless before finding his way to the Esperanza Community.
After his time working in the community and then eventually turning his life around, Robins is now working as a peer support specialist. He said he could connect with people currently living in the community and help them get off the streets.
“Never thought when I got here, that I would have my own office,” said Robins. “This is a blessing you would not believe.”
About 100 people live in the transitional community in southeast Austin. Right now, some people stay in tents, and some stay in tiny homes.
Baker said building housing was just the first step to getting people off the streets. That’s why TOOF has partnered with plugin house to add these spaces for supportive services.
“The goal was to produce a product that was quick to build, easy to put together and was reasonably inexpensive,” said Anmol Mehra with Plugin House.
Community members helped put together seven units where community members can meet to get food, talk about jobs or get help with any issues they are dealing with.
A 100 square feet unit cost about $15,000, but the company makes other size units as well.
Robins said he hopes his story of getting off the streets can inspire others, but there still needs to be a lot of work moving forward.
“If you want to be a responsible citizen in this society, you as a person must do your part,” said Robins.