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Where the $216M allocations from Austin-Travis County leaders are going to address homelessness

The Travis County Commissioners Court approved a $110 million allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds towards homelessness on Tuesday.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Travis County Commissioners Court approved a $110 million allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward addressing homelessness on Tuesday. In June, the Austin City Council approved $106 million of ARPA funds to address homelessness.

The entire $110 million allocation approved by Travis County will help build affordable housing and “strategies to rehouse people experiencing homelessness” in Austin. Specifically, the money will assist with four projects, according to the agenda item.

  • $50 million to Mobile Loaves and Fishes/Community First! Village and Foundation Communities for the Burleson Village, a “supportive housing community”. The 76-acre piece of property, 7905 Burleson Road, will eventually have 700 homes for people experiencing homelessness. 600 will be tiny homes and 100 will be supportive housing. 
  • $50 million to the Travis County Supportive Housing Collaborative, a group of seven organizations, to build affordable housing units for 1,000 residents. The supportive housing would be in six to eight sites across the county. 
  • $3 million to The Other Ones Foundation for Camp Esperanza, a transformative shelter complex which would initially shelter 200-300 people. The goal is to increase the number to more than 400. 
  • $6.5 million to Foundation Communities for affordable housing at the Juniper Creek Apartments, which would provide 100 supportive housing apartments.

The four projects will create over 2,000 new units for individuals experiencing homelessness in Austin.

RELATED: 'We're blown away' | Travis County Commissioners Court votes to allocate $110M to rehousing the homeless

The city council’s $106.7 million allocation was approved to “expand housing and services for individuals experiencing homelessness,” according to the June 10 agenda item.

  • $88.6 million for “Homelessness General,” including reaching the goal of rehousing 3,000 homeless individuals in three years and the HEAL Initiative.
    • According to the City, that will be divided up between:
      • Core Housing Services and Rental Support: "includes Rapid Rehousing assistance, rental subsidies for Permanent Supportive Housing units, Landlord outreach, diversion and prevention activities."
      • Wrap-around services: "includes services to stabilize and house individuals who are homeless. The services could include case management, mental health, substance misuse or other needed services taking a trauma-informed care approach."
      • System Capacity Building: "to strengthen the current homelessness services system, including expanding the number of organizations serving individuals who are homeless and increasing the capacity of current services providers."
      • Capital expenses: "increase the availability of permanent supportive housing units for individuals who are homeless."
  • $11.4 million to HOME-toward a Housing and Planning program
  • $4.2 million to emergency shelter
  • $0.5 million to capacity building
  • $2 million to the Homelessness Workforce including Workforce Solutions and The Other Ones Foundation

Within the City's resolution, there was a caveat to the spending: "The City's allocation will be contingent on external partners committing or securing funding of at least $200 million to match this more than $100 million investment."

When asked about the progress "external partners" were making toward that $200 million goal, the City said: 

"Progress is being made with partners and philanthropic leaders and an update from our Homeless Strategy Officer is coming soon. We are optimistic that the commitments made so far will help dramatically enhance Austin’s homelessness response in pursuit of the Summit goal over the next three years."

Additionally, the City said the Homeless Strategy Officer, Dianna Grey, "is working with City and response partners and plans to share an update on the financial model with Council in October."

In April, local leaders set a goal of rehousing 3,000 people in the next three years. In total, $216 million of ARPA funds are now going to rehousing homeless individuals in Austin-Travis County.

The $110 million allocated by the Travis County Commissioners Court came from $247,450,630 Local Fiscal Recovery Funds through ARPA. The Austin City Council received $188.4 million in federal funding, according to a report from the Austin American-Statesman.

The City Council also unanimously approved $65.2 million for the “City’s response to the homelessness crisis” in the fiscal year 2021-22 budget in August.

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