A non-profit organization that manages one of the largest homeless shelters in Central Texas has hired a new chief. Jim Ormand started on Monday as the new executive director of Front Steps, which manages the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless downtown at the corner of Neches and E. 7th St.
“Jim has the skills of a transformational leader. He has a passion for our mission and a vision to take this organization to a greater potential," Front Steps board president Sabelyn Pussman said in a press release.
Ormand, who moved to Austin from Medford, Oregon to accept the job, says he has spent the first three days trying to learn as much as possible about the challenges facing Austin's homeless population.
"Right now, I'm listening and I'm learning about some of the directions the city, the business community, and the homeless community are looking forward to," Ormand told KUT News.
Ormand traveled to San Antonio with Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole last Friday to visit the Haven For Hope, a $100 million, 37-acre campus for homeless services that opened about a year ago. The Associated Press traveled there last month to ask if it was living up to its promises and found some signs of success.
While he wasn't ready to say Austin should follow the same path, Ormand did say the city's key players in the homeless services community should come together to develop a strategy and measurable goals.
"I think [the Front Steps board of directors] are interested in my leadership skills and collaborate skills in working with community organizations and governance structures to shape a vision for the organization," Ormand told KUT News.