AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin leaders announced Wednesday that Finding Home ATX — a collaboration between federal and local government and private companies — has raised roughly $460 million of its $515 million goal.
Nearly $50 million of that comes from private donors, according to Dianna Grey, the City of Austin’s homeless strategy officer.
“A little over half is going to create new housing units for people exiting homelessness. Today, we were able to report that we are on track to exceed our goal of 1,300 new housing units. But the other portion of the money goes towards a wide array of social services,” said Grey.
Those services include intensive case management, behavioral health help, employment services, rental support for people seeking out units in the private rental market and street outreach. One of those outreach groups is We Can Now.
“We’re boots on the ground. We’re in the encampments, we’re under the bridges,” Antony Jackson, founder and CEO of We Can Now. The nonprofit brings supplies and resources to people experiencing homelessness.
Jackson said without the fundraising efforts, he wouldn’t be reaching as many people as he is. Because of its connection with Finding Home ATX, Jackson said he’s been able to scale up operations to get people resources while they wait for housing.
“We were here doing the work, but we were doing it on a very small scale, because we didn’t have funding,” Jackson said.
The funding announcement comes the week before Austin voters will decide whether to free up an additional $350 million for the city to build and support affordable housing. The bond proposal will appear as Prop A on Austin voters’ ballots.
“The past affordable housing bond resources have been really critical to getting us where we are in terms of having 1,400 units in the pipeline,” Grey said.
While Austin Mayor Steve Adler called Wednesday’s announcement a “celebration” of how far the initiative has come, he also said more needs to be done. He asked that other private partners and community members get involved, so the partnership can reach 100% of its goal.
“I believe that you lose the ability in this city right now to complain about homelessness if you’re not willing to step up and be part of the solution,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said.