Austin receives grants to resolve homelessness

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Photo Credit: Thomas Negrete | Daily Texan Staff

Within the past week, Austin has received grants from a philanthropy and a federal government agency to resolve its homeless problem.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charity by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, awarded Austin with potentially up to $1.5 million over three years on Thursday. On Friday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also granted $5.2 million to the city.

“This [Bloomberg Philanthropies] grant will help us tackle problems in new ways that reflect who we are in Austin, and I’m excited to see what can come from this,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Bloomberg Philanthropies grant will fund an Austin innovation team, or “i-team,” to compare data and connect the homeless to the best means of assistance. Austin is among six other cities that will be awarded up to $500,000 annually over three years through the program’s third round of funding.

HUD Exchange selected Austin out of 130 cities that applied to participate in the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. The program is built based on the experiences of homeless youth, who also helped evaluate the applications and will assist the 10 cities awarded grants totaling $33 million.

“A stable home is the foundation for so many other opportunities in a young person’s life,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a press release. “As a former mayor, I know that some of the most innovative ideas come from the close working relationships that occur at the local level. These local programs are proof of that.”

According to the Statesman, the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and LifeWorks organization, which aims to house homeless youth, aided 52 homeless youth in a 100-day challenge.

Adler prioritized alleviating homelessness in his goals for 2017 on City Council’s online forum. In August, Castro said Austin has resolved veteran homelessness according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness’ standards, according to a press release.

Adler has said he wants to public funds from nonprofits and businesses to keep Austin Resource Center for the Homeless running. ARCH provides shelter, basic needs and assistance from health to employment resources for Austin’s homeless population downtown.

According to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, about 32 percent of Austin’s homeless population is chronically homeless.