AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fifty tiny home units are now occupied by people experiencing homelessness at the Esperanza Community in east Austin.

The Other Ones Foundation (TOOF), which operates the community, plans to build a total of 200 on the site, divided into four neighborhoods. In addition to the cabins, the property also consists of communal areas, food access areas and hygiene facilities.

“It has been incredible to see so much support around the Esperanza Community. This is a vital resource to our City. Our approach is far from traditional: We’re extremely low barrier, non-congregate, and our services are holistic and person-centered. This allows us to serve chronically homeless people who are unable to access more traditional homelessness resources,” Founder and Executive Director Chris Baker said in a news release.

TOOF broke ground on the project in September, and Baker said most of the funding came from private partnerships. After momentum for the project built, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted to help fund the project in February.

“Everyone deserves the dignity of a roof over their head. With this investment, we are helping our unhoused population via an organization who understands,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. 

Ribbon cutting just in time to protect homeless population from heavy rain

“What’s great is that we don’t have to worry about weather anymore,” said Baker.

The KXAN First Warning Weather Team has warned the community of an imminent flooding threat over Mother’s Day Weekend. Something Baker is less concerned about now that the people he works with live in the cabins instead of tents.

“A stable, safe shelter to live in with a door that locks. And it doesn’t leak, and the wind can blow and it’s not going to knock it over,” he said.

For people who do camp near rivers and creeks, city staff and outreach teams have contacted the individuals to inform them about the weather and educate them about available resources.

Antony Jackson with homeless advocacy group We Can Now said the weather has kept him busy this week.

“When it’s raining a lot and there are potential floods at encampments we’re allowing our clients, our brothers and sisters to know, hey, there’s rain, you may want to prepare,” he said. “Bringing them resources they need, that will be things like jackets, extra blankets, cold, and anything else they could possibly utilize to help them stay dry and warm.”