Austin businesses, nonprofits look to open temporary homeless shelter

Talk 1370 Newsroom
November 07, 2019 - 9:28 am

courtesy ATXHelps.org

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AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Austin businesses, churches, and non-profits are teaming up to build a temporary homeless shelter.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce announced the coalition ATX Helps on Thursday morning. In addition to the Chamber, representatives from the Downtown Austin Alliance and faith-based organizations are serving on the coalition's steering committee.

The effort aims to raise $14 million to open a temporary homeless shelter in early 2020.

"Homelessness in Austin has reached a critical level that’s inhumane for those experiencing it," Brian Cassidy, chairman of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, said. "This is the answer for someone who wants to get off the street now, and this addresses the most immediate and visible gap in Austin’s current efforts."

The temporary shelter, known as a Sprung shelter, is expected to hold about 150 bunk beds, providing room for 300 people with dining and sanitation services including bathrooms, showers, and laundry. They are fully heated and air-conditioned, and each person will have a large, lockable bin for personal belongings. Pets will also be welcome, and social services and assistance with mental health and drug/alcohol issues will be available as well.

Chamber officials say each Sprung shelter costs about $2 million in capital expenses, with the other $12 million covering operational costs for two years.

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