AUSTIN, Texas — Austin City Councilmember Kathie Tovo still remembers her visit to Haven for Hope.
"What made the biggest impression on me was the Courtyard," Tovo said.
Haven for Hope is a campus in San Antonio that houses and provides resources to homeless people.
The 22-acre campus has 17 buildings, employs 250 people and is home to around 1,700 people.
The campus includes a shelter-like feature called the Courtyard, which provides safe sleeping to people who are not staying at Haven for Hope.
"And that is not something that we have in Austin," Tovo said. "And I think it’s something that is definitely worth considering if we had a place that was central enough where it would appeal to people who are in that area."
She said she's discussed Haven for Hope with people before and points out the large portion of private funding.
"And really, that’s what we need in Austin," Tovo said. "We have some very generous benefactors who have helped, working toward raising the resources we need to end homelessness. But we need much broader community participation."
Haven for Hope staff said it costs about $20 million each year to fund the campus.
That funding comes from:
- The City: $4.5 million
- The county: $1 million
- The State: $4 million
- United Way: $1.5 million
- Private philanthropy: $8 million
"I admire what they’re doing in San Antonio ... but those large campuses outside of the metropolitan areas or on the outskirts is less appealing to me than some of what I see us doing here in Austin, which is really making sure we have services in different parts of the city and that we’re working toward really a trauma-informed approach," Tovo said.
She said the City is focused on making housing and resources accessible in multiple areas of Austin, instead of just downtown.
"We’re not looking to create a large campus," Tovo said. "We’re looking to house people who are currently experiencing homelessness within communities in Austin."
While Austin may not see a place like Haven for Hope in its future, Tovo said there are characteristics of the campus the City can learn from, like easily accessible services and access to a low-barrier shelter.
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