Austin Local News
UPDATE: Business community launches campaign for new 300 bed shelter
Austin's business community is stepping up efforts to build a 300-bed homeless shelter near downtown.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce's Brian Cassidy said they are hoping to raise $14-million for a planned shelter that would allow most folks, other shelters would turn away. Like those not wanting to separate from a partner or a trusted animal companion...even those with active drug addictions. All but those that present security risks would be welcomed and offered services. Cassidy explained there would be, "Medical services, mental health counseling, drug addiction counseling. And keep in mind these are navigation centers. These are supposed to be a temporary facility to help get people on their way to a path that they need."
Cassidy explained Austin has a supreme lack of these kinds of, Low Barrier Shelters. He said, "There's lots of people on the streets. There's no where for them to go. We're short on shelter space, but in addition to that, there's very few places where they can go with those low barriers to entry and so it just exacerbates the problem."
$2-million of the $14-million would be spent on a building called a "Sprung Shelter," while the rest would fund the shelter's operations for two years. An actual location for he proposed shelter has not been determined, but ATX Help officials said they would work with the City, County and state to find a solution.
(Photo:Newsradio KLBJ/Jon Cooley)
The Austin Chamber of Commerce on Thursday is expected to announce the formation of a new coalition comprised of local business leaders, faith-based organizations, philanthropic organizations, and members of the Downtown Austin Alliance, to address Austin's rapidly growing homeless crisis. With shelter space at near-full capacity across the city, the coalition is expected to announce its plan to raise $14-million by the end of the year in order to begin construction of a temporary shelter by early 2020.
The shelter would be known as a "Sprung shelter." Sprung is the name of the company behind a specific type of tent, with designs similar to large aircraft hangars, which have also been used in other cities as makeshift homeless shelters.
The Chamber says the shelters would be temporary until more permanent options are found.