Homelessness affects our entire community. The men and women who live on the streets are the most vulnerable souls amongst us, yet the only difference between their needs and the needs of the housed is the catastrophic loss of support they have experienced in their lives, leaving them without the safety, security and the dignity of a place of to call home.
Last year there were nearly 1,500 chronically homeless men and women living on the streets of Austin, accessing a variety of services for a range of needs that include mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, physical disabilities and medical needs. For these men and women finding housing is critical but the shelters are at maximum capacity and resources at service agencies are stretched incredibly thin. Imagine Austin is working to reduce the number of men & women living on the streets and in shelters through the Household Affordability Priority Program, working on creating long term strategies to target the use of public funds for those who are homeless and to promote the construction of more permanent supportive housing units.
Housing comes in many shapes and sizes and for 200 chronically homeless individuals a soon to be completed housing community, Mobile Loaves & Fishes Community First! Village, will provide an opportunity to find stability, employment, community and security in a setting designed to move them off the streets and into newly constructed, renovated and creative housing solutions. Community First! Village is a 27 acre master-planned community that will provide affordable, sustainable housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas.
This spring, Imagine Austin is working with Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ Community First! Village to create a space where the men & women who have lost their lives while living on the streets can be memorialized. Volunteers will help design a wall where residents can inscribe the names of people they’ve known that’ve died while homeless, while other volunteer creative types will design a mosaic to adorn the back side of the wall, to be crafted and implemented by still more volunteers! While this volunteer project will have little impact on the policies surrounding homelessness and housing for the most vulnerable, it will allow us as a community to remember those for whom housing was just out of reach. It will shed light on the issue of homelessness in our community, help put a face and name to the most vulnerable, and to highlight the solutions already at play in our community.
We need a number of people to work with us, in a volunteer capacity, with a host of technical and creative skills to help design the wall, the art that will adorn the wall, folks who can donate mosaic materials to be used in the mosaic design, and folks who’d like to help bring the art design to life once Mobile Loaves and Fishes has completed construction of the wall. If you fit into one or more of the groups above, we’d like to hear from you!
Please contact Jennifer Denton via email or by phone at 974-1341 if you’d like to volunteer your time and skills, or for more information.
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