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On May 14, 2021 Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey and Parks and Recreation Department Director Kimberly McNeely submitted a memo in Response to Resolution No. 20210506-070, directing the City Manager to provide information and analysis regarding possible sanctioned encampments for people experiencing homelessness in the City of Austin.
On April 6, 2021 HSO Dianna Grey presented the first iteration of the HEAL Implementation Plan at Council Work Session. Review the memo and access footage of the full meeting. On April 7, HSO Grey answered questions from the press; access footage from the Q&A.
In February, 2021 the Austin City Council passed the Housing-Focused Homeless Encampment Assistance Link ("HEAL") initiative to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to housing-focused services and supports, including social, health, behavioral health, and substance use
services as needed. The purpose of the HEAL initiative is to immediately house individuals, create a path to permanent housing, and over time, eliminate the necessity for unsheltered camping in our city. Full Text Available.
Dianna Grey starts as City of Austin Homeless Strategy Officer on January 4, 2021
Memo to Mayor and Council: Homelessness Update (12/22/2020)
Eating Apart Together (EAT) surpasses half-million meals served to Austin’s homeless community. (News Release)
The Homeless Texting Alert System is a one-way text messaging system to get critical information out quickly and effectively. The program launched in early September with approximately 600 numbers from phones distributed by Integral Care, the Downtown Austin Community Court, and Front Steps. Additional numbers can be added at any time and without risk sending duplicate messages. (9/11/2020)
Memo to Mayor and Council: Update on Services for Addressing Homelessness (Dated 9/11/2020)
New: Learn About Homelessness resource (8/28/2020)
News: The City of Austin has launched the Violet KeepSafe Storage program to provide storage to people experiencing homelessness. Located in the HealthSouth parking garage in Downtown Austin, access to storage will help people who live unsheltered attend service provider appointments, doctor’s appointments, pursue employment, and get some rest without worrying about the safety of their most treasured possessions.
Investing for Results: Priorities and Recommendations for a Systems Approach to End Homelessness was released July 23, 2020. The report, produced by Barb Poppe and associates offers recommendations and strategies to help ensure that public and private investments into programs and initiatives to address homelessness in Austin have the maximum impact.
Memo to Mayor and Council: Update on Homelessness Services During Response to COVID-19 (Dated 4/27/2020)
As part of the city’s commitment to ending homelessness, Council received an update on the progress of several community initiatives. Leaders from each initiative provided context and new information before answering questions from Councilmembers and the Mayor. These updates inform leaders and members of the community on what’s happening and what’s possible to create a safer, more stable community.
Ending homelessness is the responsibility of the entire community, not just City Government. Council heard from two non-governmental agencies leading successful initiatives to house neighbors in need.
- Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO): Homeless Navigation Pilot
Preston Petty, Coordinated Entry Program Director at ECHO gave an overview of the approach to housing through outreach, navigation and service coordination.
- Integral Care: PATH
David Gomez, PATH Program Manager at Integral Care share the 30+ year program’s approach and latest numbers for engaging people experiencing homelessness to build trust and develop an action plan for a better future.
City staff provided new information and resources on work related to ending the experience and impact of homelessness.
- Guided Path Initiative
Vella Karman, MPA, Interim Homeless Services Officer updated the council on the status of the 99 individuals engaged outside of the ARCH, which includes 21 as already housed. Council will continue to receive updates on this specific initiative and how it will be expanded to other encampments.
- Housing: Motel Conversion Initiative - Strategy and Implementation
Rosie Truelove, Director, Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department provided two one-pagers explaining the strategy for and implementation of the Council-approved plan to convert motels into housing.
- Clean City Strategy Overview
Ken Snipes, Director, Austin Resource Recovery, shared the city’s coordinated approach to keeping our community safe and clean while respecting the rights and dignity of those experiencing homelessness. ARR provided maps detailing service requests received through 3-1-1, locations where the City provided service, and a heat map showing encampment locations.
Jessica King, Interim Director, Communications & Public Information Office, shared an update on progress to create a dashboard to track progress toward ending homelessness and forthcoming resources to help leaders and community members understand and engage with these initiatives.
- Police Engagement
Joseph Chacon, Austin Police Department Assistant Chief, responded to the Mayor’s concerns about how officers engage with people experiencing homelessness.
More updates on these initiatives and others will be presented at future Council Work Sessions.