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Austin homeless service providers awarded more than $11M in federal funds

The $11 million awarded is the most funding that the Austin community has ever received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ECHO said.

AUSTIN, Texas — Ten homeless service providers in Austin/Travis County dedicated to support permanent housing programs and administrative projects will receive more than $11 million in federal funding in 2021, according to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO).

The $11 million awarded is the most amount of funding that the Austin community has ever received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Continuums of Care (CoC) Program, ECHO said. 

ECHO is one of the 10 organizations receiving funding and is the lead agency for Austin-Travis County’s CoC. So, ECHO is responsible for coordinating the area-wide strategy to end homelessness and submit the application for these federal funds every year on behalf of direct service providers.

“ECHO congratulates all the Continuum of Care funded agencies who were awarded renewal funding to house people experiencing homelessness in our community,” said Kate Moore, ECHO’s vice president of strategic planning and partnerships. “Through this funding, we are able to help hundreds of families and individuals end their homelessness. ECHO is grateful for the incredible tenacity each of these agencies has shown during the pandemic to continue to provide much-needed services to our vulnerable neighbors.”

How funds are separated

Here is a breakdown of the $11,011,967 among the 10 organizations, according to ECHO: 

  • Caritas of Austin: $1,807,856 
  • Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA): $765,486 
  • Housing Authority of Travis County: $1,126,479 
  • SAFE Alliance: $1,998,498 (for two projects) 
  • Green Doors: $96,550 
  • Front Steps: $486,580 
  • Integral Care: $482,964 
  • Salvation Army Austin: $646,730 
  • LifeWorks: $3,147,346 (for four projects) 
  • ECHO: $453,478 (for two administrative projects) 

ECHO said it – along with the community partners – has connected 1,879 people to permanent housing in 2020, which is an 8% increase from 2019. 

“We are honored and humbled to advocate alongside the group of providers who make up our CoC-funded programs. The programs being funded end homelessness for hundreds of community members each year using harm reduction and Housing First principles,” said ECHO Executive Director Matt Mollica. “Our hope is that our federal partners begin to fund homelessness to the scale necessary in our community. Our future needs to include scaled investments to meet the needs of our country so it is possible to imagine a world without homelessness.” 

Homelessness in Austin

Housing those experiencing homelessness has been a hot-button issue in Austin recently. The Austin City Council recently voted to buy the Texas Bungalows Hotel and Suites in North Austin for $6.5 million and is in talks of purchasing another. The council is considering purchasing the $9.5 million Candlewood Suites, which lies within Williamson County.  

Williamson County leaders say they were caught by surprise about Austin City Council's plan to buy the hotel. And now, they're asking Austin to delay its decision to buy that Candlewood Suites. The purchase, according to the commissioners court, affects Williamson County, Round Rock ISD, Bluebonnet Trails and the Williamson County and Cities Health District.

Gov. Greg Abbott also recently joined KVUE to discuss the homelessness topic in and around Austin. The governor has been vocal about his opposition to Austin's homeless camping policies. In January, he said that if Austin doesn't reinstate the public camping ban, the Texas government would. Local groups are currently working to put an item on the ballot in the upcoming May election to put the issue up to voters. To listen to Abbott's full interview, click here.

KVUE has more coverage surrounding homelessness in and around the Austin area at kvue.com/homeless.


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