AUSTIN -- It’s that time of year again in Austin. The hotels are booked and the streets are filled with out-of-towners.
The SXSW conference is in town. It’s where those who live education, technology, film, and music come together. But this year’s SXSW has a different meaning for some. SXSW EDU is tackling the issue of homelessness not only in Austin, but nationwide.
On Monday, organizers kicked off the "Education Leads Home" Campaign at Maggie Mae's on Sixth Street. The goal is to improve graduation rates for the more than one million homeless students enrolled in public schools across the country.
One of those impacted by homelessness is Lizzy Pinto-Gouveia. At 17-years-old, she was living out of her car. She says campaigns like this helped her break the cycle of poverty.
“At the time, it was just surviving and then I look back and I'm like, 'I can not believe I did all these things,' so it really pushed me to be better and help others,” Gouveia said.
In August and September of last year, the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) reached out to the Austin Police Department and asked for help. The ARCH, run by Front Steps, worked with APD to create a new plan downtown. Part of that plan included requirements that participants would need to meet to get services -- requirements like obeying the law and avoiding drugs.
During the Education Leads Home campaign, scholarships will be awarded to 10 young people to help them pursue a college degree.