Launched at the beginning of this month, the Homelessness Outreach Street Team, or HOST, is a new, collaborative initiative to address the needs of people living on the streets of downtown Austin.
The team consists of two police officers, two behavioral health specialists, a paramedic, and an outreach social worker provided by the Austin Police Department, Austin Travis County Integral Care, Austin/Travis County EMS, and Downtown Austin Alliance.
In a recent interview with Community Impact News, Bill Brice, Downtown Austin Alliance's VP of Operations, said, "Downtown Austin Alliance anticipates that the HOST program will have a positive impact in the downtown district because of its proactive approach to helping people from getting to the point of crisis or violating ordinances."
The test project runs from June 1 through September 30, 2016 within the boundaries of the Colorado River, Lamar Blvd., 29th Street, and I-35. Based on the success of the program, the agencies involved would look for funding support to fill the social service gaps and make HOST a permanent program.
Click here to visit the project website. To see the infographic, click here.