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TOOF building 100 units for homeless in Austin

One hundred trailer-type units are being built at what used to be a TxDOT work yard in South Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Other Ones Foundation (TOOF), a nonprofit, is getting people off the streets of Austin and into a place they can call home.

They are putting in 100 trailer-type units in the Esperanza community at what used to be a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) work yard in South Austin.

"When we did our needs assessment and asked people what do you want, how do you want to develop this site and find what you need to turn your life around, what we heard time and time again is we want our own space,” said Max Moscue, community manager for TOOF.

Moscue told KVUE that some of the units are completed and others are still being built.

One resident, Angelo Diaz, lives in the Esperanza community.

"Finally got a bed. Haven't had a bed in almost 32 years," said Diaz. "This is, like, twice the size, almost three times the size of the tent I was in. I now have four actual walls, I've got a door that I can lock."

Diaz was living in the woods in Austin when he fell on hard times.

"When they put me in one of these places, it was the first time I had a door to lock in decades. The relief that I've gotten from that, I can finally slow my mind down and actually focus on what it takes for me to advance in life," said Diaz. 

All 100 units are expected to be done by the end of winter. The organization also provides resources for people to try to get work and a free health clinic.

Moscue said the goal is for a person to stay between four to six months.

"This a place for people to come, get some stability, get some traction, go through our programming, and then move out of here into stable housing off site," said Moscue.

Since Diaz moved into the housing, he said he has big goals for the future, such as getting a decent job, an apartment and to pay it forward.

The organization does get assistance from the City of Austin and the State. They are trying to raise enough funds to build an additional 100 units, with construction beginning in the spring.

Besides providing housing, TOOF also provides several programs for those experiencing homelessness. The nonprofit offers work opportunities and hygiene facilities along with a community center for mail and internet access.

Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown.

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