The Downtown Austin Alliance Board of Directors recently approved funding for a $150,000 challenge grant to house the chronically homeless in our community. Funds pledged by the DAA will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for other private sector contributions made to the Oak Springs Housing First project being developed by Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC).
The Oak Springs project marks a milestone in Austin’s efforts to end homelessness. The 50-unit apartment complex will be the first Housing First project in Austin. Housing First is an evidence based practice being implemented across the country to provide permanent housing with comprehensive services for people that are chronically homeless. Oak Springs will offer case management, substance abuse, mental health, medical facilities and care, and other supportive services needed to help ensure the clients’ success.
The DAA has for many years been a consistent advocate in support of increased Housing First. The organization has supported efforts of ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition), the City of Austin’s Housing First and Permanent Supportive Housing goals and initiatives, and has helped fund a Housing First pilot program to demonstrate the effectiveness of this model. ATCIC anticipates breaking ground on the Oak Springs project Spring 2016 and completion of the project in summer 2017.
At a November 2015 project launch conference, City of Austin Mayor, Steve Adler, stated, “What Austin Travis County Integral Care is doing for our community is so important and it needs your help. By providing a home and supportive services, Integral Care is taking the most critical step in reducing homelessness. We know that it costs less to provide permanent supportive housing than it costs to cycle people through the criminal justice system and emergency rooms. Housing First has worked in other cities around the country, and it will work here in Austin.”
For more information on the Oak Springs Housing First project and how you can donate, please visit: http://housingfirstatx.org/.