The Austin Chamber is taking action to help people struggling with homelessness.
Working with a range of partners, we have launched ATX Helps — a new non-profit focused on raising money to provide emergency shelter, outreach, and storage for people living on Austin’s streets that want help.
To learn more and contribute, please go to www.atxhelps.org.
We all can do more to help our most vulnerable neighbors. ATX Helps was created with a focus on the heart-breaking need of people experiencing homelessness; with faith in the fundamental kindness of Austinites who want to help them; and with confidence that, working together, we can solve homelessness.
ATX Helps seeks to do so by cutting through the noise, putting politics aside, and bringing our community together to compassionately help those with no place to go. It aims to fill the biggest gap in Austin’s continuum of homeless services — the need for emergency shelter, outreach, and storage.
Shelter: ATX Helps set a goal of raising $14 million for construction and operation a Sprung shelter that will provide immediate housing and other necessities for Austinites experiencing homelessness. That funding will cover construction and two years of operations for the shelter, which typically hold about 150 bunk beds and can comfortably sleep 300 men and women. Any new shelter will be fully heated and air-conditioned, have 24-hour security, and provide safe and clean dining and sanitation services, including showers, bathrooms, laundry facilities, and eating areas.
Outreach: This effort will focus on not just providing services, but ensuring people can access them. ATX Helps will help connect people with wrap-around services and feature a comprehensive effort to seek-out people on the streets to help ensure they know about these services and can take advantage of them.
Storage: Talking with people actually experiencing homelessness, it’s clear that one of the biggest impediments to reaching a more stable situation is the lack of safe and secure storage space. To help accommodate this need, part of ATX Helps’ work will be to provide large, lockable bins for each person housed.
Visit www.atxhelps.org to learn more.
Everyone has a role to play in this community effort to solve homelessness in Austin. We need people and organizations from all over Austin, including businesses, the State, Travis County, the City, nonprofits, churches, and faith-based ministries, to be partners with us.
Austin businesses are stepping up to help people experiencing homelessness. It’s time to set politics and pride aside. It is time to help people who are desperate and out of choices.