AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Salvation Army is expected to open a 212-bed shelter for families in Austin on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Families will start moving in that day.
“We are beyond excited to open our doors and start providing wrap-around services for families experiencing homelessness,” said Major Lewis Reckline, Austin Area Commander for The Salvation Army. “The Rathgeber Center for Families will provide all of the necessary tools and resources to help families get back into self-sufficiency and break the cycle of homelessness in each household.”
The $12-million project funded with private dollars is located at 4613 Tannehill Lane in east Austin near the intersection of East Martin Luther King Jr. and Ed Bluestein Boulevard.
A release from the organization’s spokesperson said it’s opening comes in response to the growing population of families experiencing homelessness in Austin. It said the Salvation Army’s main focus for services is providing basic needs to make sure homelessness is brief, rare and non-recurring.
The services and amenities include:
- 100% housing-focused client-directed case management services
- Full service rapid rehousing programs on-site to assist clients
- Employment assistance and skills training
- Outsourced childcare
- Child and family therapist
- Computer learning center
- Teachers and tutors
- Private bathrooms in each room
- Laundry facilities
- A full-service kitchen and dining room
- A children’s playground
- 40 Emergency Shelter rooms (120 beds)
- The average stay is up to 90 days
- 23 Extended Stay rooms (92 beds)
- The average stay up to 6 months
The Salvation Army broke ground on the Rathgeber Center for Women and Children in 2017.
The services provided will include a plan to help return those experiencing homelessness to self-sufficiency.
Initially, the Rathgeber Center was intended to provide a replacement shelter for the 55-bed family residence located in the Salvation Army’s downtown Social Service Center, but it will be repurposed for those who are single.
There are currently 14 families in the downtown shelter, some of which are weeks away from getting permanent housing, so just five of those families will be the first to move to the Rathgeber Center.
The shelter will then bring in families who are on the waitlist. As of January 2020, there were 234 people on the waitlist. Here is the breakdown:
- 81 single adults
- 51 mothers
- 102 children