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Nonprofit teams up with local businesses to build transitional shelter at Esperanza Community

For at least one business, its involvement in the project is personal.

AUSTIN, Texas — Local nonprofit The Other Ones Foundation (TOOF) has teamed up with a slew of local businesses to build a new transitional shelter complex at the Esperanza Community, a sanctioned homeless encampment in southeast Austin.

Together, the groups installed underground infrastructure for the shelter complex. Now, just this week, they have constructed the first of four steel Quonset huts, which will serve as shaded communal areas for residents of the community.

“These central gathering areas will be a place where people can access food, hygiene facilities and build community among themselves,” said Chris Baker, founder and executive director of TOOF. “We want to offer a place where people can be safe and work through our programs, but we also want a place where people can flourish, be creative and thrive. These Quonset huts are where people will be interacting and building community, a lot of magic and healing is going to happen under these steel huts. We are so grateful for all the community partners that have come together to make these communal areas a reality. I’m continuously inspired by the generosity, skill and hard work of this amazing group!”

The local businesses include Lewis Investments, GI Custom Builders, Civcon Construction and Quality Steel Erectors.

"These contractors are donating their time and skills to make this a reality, and Lewis Investments has made a $40,000 donation to TOOF on top of their services," TOOF said in a press release.

Kip Lewis of Lewis Investments said his involvement in the project is personal.

"It’s been incredibly heartwarming to see so many people rally together to give back. All of us who have donated our time and talents to this project have a common thread: someone close to us has experienced extreme poverty or homelessness,” said Lewis. “This project is my personal way to honor my high school friend, who was once considered one of the greatest athletes from Austin ... who died homeless. We hope this project will provide shelter, hope and the needed assistance to anyone seeking stability they need to move on to a better life.”


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