AUSTIN (KXAN) — In response to the city’s growing homeless problem, Austin will move to purchase a building for a new homeless shelter in the next couple of weeks.
City Council members gave the go-ahead for a south Austin shelter on Thursday.
Specific details about the shelter’s location are protected by Texas law because negotiations are ongoing.
Council member Ann Kitchen says the shelter will offer services far beyond just a bed and a roof.
“The minute someone steps in the door in a shelter, they’re immediately working with a social worker to help them find permanent housing,” she said.
The shelter follows the city’s housing first policy, which emphasizes fewer beds but more case management and a quicker transition into housing.
The new shelter is expected to have up to 100 beds, and will target single men and women, rather than families.
We wanted to make sure it was in proximity to individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Veronica Briseno, the city’s Interim Homelessness Strategy Officer. “We wanted to make sure it had access close to public transportation, close to healthcare.”
The ARCH will undergo changes of its own, related to helping those experiencing homelessness transition to housing faster.
The shelter has grown a stigma for the large number of people who are often hanging out outside.
“The problem is, the ARCH became a place where you went in for a night, and then you had to leave and it was a lottery to get back in,” said Kitchen. “It set up an environment of just hanging out.”