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Austin could be first city to end youth homelessness

LifeWorks, a nonprofit that helps homeless youth and families in Austin, says it believes the city could be the first to end youth homelessness.

AUSTIN, Texas — As Austin continues to try to find ways to help the homeless population, one organization said it thinks the city could end youth homelessness by the end of 2020. 

LifeWorks, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless youth and families, said ending youth homelessness is the goal for this year. 

"It's a big challenge, but it's absolutely doable because it's not just LifeWorks," said Susan McDowell, CEO of LifeWorks. "This is a community effort and a coalition that includes ECHO and Caritas of Austin and SAFE Alliance and many other organizations collaborating to make this happen." 

RELATED: A look at the history of homelessness in Austin

McDowell said the collaboration is key to taking on this challenge since around 450 youth will need to be housed by the end of the year. 

"Working together, we can make this happen," she said. "It is a large challenge, but our community is so concerned with homelessness now. This is an area of homelessness where we are making tangible progress. We had a lot of success last year. We're bringing momentum into this year. We've got all of the right partners, so we can do this." 

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McDowell said this has been a goal in the making for years. 

"This is really part of a three-year, very disciplined, highly collaborative process, and I think a commitment to evidence-based practices that we know have worked," said McDowell. "So combining it all here, bringing all the partners on the same page and leveraging all of our resources to make it happen, that's what’s going to lead to our success." 

She said along with help from other organizations, a new apartment complex will help meet the goal. The East Austin apartment complex will have 29 units, focused on youth.

McDowell said it will be "deeply affordable" and help tremendously.

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