AUSTIN, Texas — A nonprofit on a mission to stop homelessness is moving its home base to the heart of the state-sanctioned encampment off U.S. Highway 183.
The Other Ones Foundation (TOOF) announced they are building a community services complex in this camp. It will be supplied with shower and laundry facilities, and the Workforce First program office. Leaders with the nonprofit will also complete a needs assessment to figure out what residents need both in the short-term and long-term.
"We are really trying to honor the vision and the hopes and dreams of people who are staying out there and bring them the services that they want and need," said Max Moscoe, community engagement coordinator at TOOF.
The nonprofit used to operate out of an office in southwest Austin but was not directly located within a camp. Leaders with the organization believe this move will put them in a better position to make a difference.
"The services that were needed out at the encampment off 183 were not there," Moscoe said. "We talked with the Texas Department of Transportation and realized it would be very serendipitous if we moved out there and brought our services out there."
Gov. Greg Abbott opened the camp in November 2019 to address the issue of homelessness and housing in the city. As the nonprofit sets up their new location, staff will also act as service coordinators for other organizations offering services at the camp.
TOOF has provided support to the homeless community since 2018, with their main focus being to employ people in need of help and get them into permanent housing.
Since October 2019, the organization has paid out $186,185 in earned income to people experiencing homelessness and housed 34 clients. According to Moscoe, they are on track to double their total earnings compared to 2018-19. They have also provided 2,772 showers and 4,580 lunches since late March when they rolled out their mobile hygiene clinic.
"We are going to go out there and try to build community, ameliorate living conditions, avoid a humanitarian crisis and do the next right thing with everybody," Moscoe said.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: