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The measure of a city can be taken by how it treats citizens at every level. Broadly addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness and mitigating the negative impacts of homelessness for people who live, work and visit downtown is a strategic priority of the Downtown Austin Alliance.

Through policy advocacy, community education, collaboration, and direct funding support, the Downtown Alliance’s efforts are focused on improving the effectiveness of the homeless service system, increasing the availability of emergency shelter, housing and social services, and maintaining a safe and welcoming downtown.

Salvation Army Rathgeber Center

The Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation pledged $100,000 of support for the Rathgeber Center—a temporary emergency shelter for women with children and families. Our Foundation will assist in efforts to raise the additional funds needed to close a $500,000 fundraising gap in the $4.9 million needed for annual operations. The Rathgeber Center is a newly constructed, $12 million, 212-bed, women/children and family emergency shelter scheduled to open in fall 2019, provided the Salvation Army closes the gap. The City of Austin and local philanthropist Dick have also pledged contributions toward the center's operating costs.


ATX Helps

The Downtown Austin Alliance is proud to be part of the ATX Helps coalition alongside leaders from Austin’s business community and faith-based organizations. The coalition is aiming to raise $14 million in private funds for an innovative approach to providing shelter and support services to Austinites living on the streets. The goal is to construct and operate the city’s first Sprung shelter, a concept that’s proven successful in other cities to provide immediate—and temporary—safe, and clean shelter and other necessities.

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Sprung Shelters in San Diego, CA


Community First! Village

The Downtown Alliance pledged $2M over 10 years toward the development of Community First! Village, a project of Mobile Loaves and Fishes designed to provide housing and rebuild community for people experiencing chronic homelessness. Long term, the village will house about 1,000 individuals, provide on-site health services and opportunities for residents to generate income through community gardens, art, crafts, woodworking, blacksmithing, car care, and other trades and programs.

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Pay For Success

The Downtown Austin Alliance contributed $25,000 to help create Austin’s Pay for Success program. Launching in June 2019, this investment vehicle is a project of ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition) and Social Finance. Pay for Success will generate funds for wrap-around services needed to provide housing-first for 250 people experiencing chronic homelessness.

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Homeless System Process Triage

The Downtown Austin Alliance sponsored a process to map Austin’s homeless service system, identify “clogs” or gaps in the system, and prioritize steps that can increase the effectiveness of the system. This business-forward approach resulted in the creation of a detailed homeless system map and 12 improvement priorities.

Housing First Support

As an advocate and supporter of “housing first” developments, the Downtown Alliance contributed $150,000 to The Terrace at Oak Springs, Austin’s first Housing-First project. This new project being developed by Integral Care is scheduled to open in September 2019 and will house 50 formerly chronically homeless in single-occupancy apartments.

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ARCH Contract Rescoping

The Downtown Alliance advocated to revise the scope for the ARCH management contract and for a contract solicitation process. The new scope, which went into effect April 1, 2019, will reduce the number of people sleeping and receiving day services at the ARCH, and requires that all clients will receive case management and work toward ending their condition of homelessness.

Past Media Coverage

Austin City Council vote on ARCH capacity reduction, new shelter ultimatum

The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless will shrink its capacity by 60 beds, and a new shelter should be up and running by the end of September, both moves reflecting a shift in strategy in the city’s battle against its growing homelessness issue.

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Council: Can Social Impact Investing End Homelessness

In what has become an annual ritual, local leaders on Tuesday, March 26, revealed the results of the 2019 Point in Time Count of people living without homes in Austin and Travis County.

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Homeless city residents say permanent housing is key

City leaders are prioritizing a housing-first approach and relying more on case management. Along with transitioning the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, the City Council committed to opening a new, city-owned shelter by the end of September.

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