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Salvation Army continues to relocate people as Downtown Austin shelter location gets ready to close

The Salvation Army's Austin-area commander said to continue operating downtown, they would need an additional $3 million annually for the facility.

AUSTIN, Texas — For more than 20 years, The Salvation Army's emergency shelter in Downtown Austin served as a resource for people in need.

It had 100 beds temporarily housing single men and woman. Just last year, the shelter housed more than 500 people.

But in February of this year, the Salvation Army announced it planned to close on March 15. That closure has been extended by 30 days with the help of City of Austin funding.

"It was decision we didn't want to have make and it was a decision we struggled over, but it was a necessary decision. I think if we had adequate funding, we would certainly look at [keeping it open]. We had to fix the building but felt we could probably manage some of it if we did receive some additional funding but were not able to secure it," said Major Lewis Reckline, Salvation Army's Austin-area commander.

He said annually, the Salvation Army gets $4 million from the City and about $400,000 goes toward operating the downtown shelter. The Salvation Army also gets funding through fundraising and other sources.


Reckline said to continue operating downtown, they would need an additional $3 million annually for the facility. He said talks for more funding started with City leaders from the previous administration as far back as 2020.

"They never made a commitment," Reckline told KVUE.

Reckline said the Salvation Army continues to serve as many people as it can. The organization is focusing on another facility called the Rathgeber Center, in East Austin, that opened in 2020, helping hundreds of families in need.

“We are focusing on families. This last week, our waitlist for a program like this was over 600 people, and over 300 of them children. And so it does tell you there is need for these program in the facility we are in right now," Reckline said.

As for the downtown location, right now, the Salvation Army said it has been working hard to relocate the remaining 15 people there. As far the building, it does own it and plans to sell it.

"It will go up for sale. Those funds will come back into the community as we evaluate where we go in the future to help more people in this community," Reckline said.

The Salvation Army said it will continue talks with City leaders daily moving forward.

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