homelessness

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin is trying to end homelessness among veterans. Homeless advocates say the city has already attained “functional zero” veteran homelessness, and they’re awaiting formal recognition from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The term “functional zero” could be confusing, because Austin still has veterans living on the street. So what does it mean?


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

There’s a reason it’s the largest retailer in the world — Walmart attracts hundreds of millions of shoppers every week. But for a tiny percentage of that number, Walmart is attractive for other reasons. For them, Walmart isn't just an errand — it's home.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

The Austin Police Department is changing its approach when it comes to dealing with homelessness by starting a new outreach program, targeting two areas in which those experiencing homelessness congregate.


William Welch and Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story contains language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

In Texas, the law is pretty clear when it comes to who's responsible for reporting abuse or neglect – pretty much anyone who thinks abuse or neglect is happening. Often, that person is a delivery nurse or a doctor.

Image credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Few things translate into all cultures and backgrounds. Homelessness is one of them. No matter the country, there are people living in the streets. What varies is how communities try to deal with the issue.

In Austin, Alan Graham has spent decades feeding and housing the destitute with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, the organization he founded. Today Graham will be named Citizen of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. And while you may not have heard his name, chances are you've heard one of his most well-known prescriptions for homelessness – building communities of tiny houses for the disabled and chronically homeless.

Photo provided by Kimberly.

This week, Travis County Commissioners approved the sale of seven and-a-half acres of county-owned property in East Austin to be donated to the local Salvation Army for a new women and children’s shelter adjacent to the current Austin Shelter for Women and Children. From Sept. 2013 to Sept. 2014, that shelter served 120 women and 249 children in crisis who needed a place to stay and services to get back on their feet.

Kimberly is one of the many women who sought help at the shelter (she asked that we not use her last name, as her children attend local schools). But, before things started unraveling, Kimberly was working and had a house and two children. Here, you can listen to Kimberley's story in her own words.


Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

The Travis County Commissioners Court finalized the sale of county-owned land in East Austin for the purpose of building a shelter to house homeless women and children today.

Travis County Commissioners unanimously approved the sale of more than 7.5 acres of property on Tannehill Lane in East Austin for the new facility, which will be operated by the Salvation Army.

Image courtesy John Savage

From Texas Standard:

According to the latest statistics, about 12 of every 10,000 Texans are living homeless, many of whom have an intellectual or developmental disability. While state programs and aid are available, the wait times are daunting. Some services have lists with applicants waiting for well over a decade.

Some reports rank Texas near last place with regard to well-being of those with intellectual disabilities.  John Savage has been following the story for the Texas Observer.

 


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Earlier this year, Austin Mayor Steve Adler made a promise to get all of the city’s homeless veterans off the streets by Veterans Day.

Adler, the city and its partners say the so-called House Our Heroes program didn’t make its deadline, but they’re making inroads.

John Shapley/KUT

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has set a goal to end veteran homelessness in the city by Veterans Day. This year, that’s Nov. 11. Despite reports that have said the mayor has had to push back that date, Adler says he’s sticking to his deadline.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

About two months ago, Miguel Alfonso moved to Texas from the East Coast and wound up in Austin. He was looking for work, and in the meantime was sleeping in his car, which he would park downtown. Then his car was towed. He couldn't afford to get it back from impound, so he began sleeping on the street at night, usually downtown, usually near 6th and Nueces.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) marked 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the law that created the agency, a part of Johnson’s Great Society program.

Joy Diaz/KUT

This week, Mayor Steve Adler announced a push to house all of Austin's homeless veterans by Veterans Day. The initiative, called House our Heroes, will focus on assisting the 200 servicemen and women who now live in Austin's streets.

Austin's total homeless population, however, is much larger than 200, and some advocates hope Adler's initiative is the beginning of a movement that could end all homelessness in Austin.

John Shapley/KUT

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has announced a plan for ending homelessness among military veterans in Austin by Veterans Day this year.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin is a running- and jogging-friendly city. It also has a homeless population of about 2,000. An Austin non-profit group is combining the two to help people break the cycle of chronic homelessness.

Back on My Feet is a program that uses running as a starting point to help people who are homeless change the way they see themselves, as well as find jobs and housing. The program started in Philadelphia in 2007, and its Austin chapter began in 2013.

Courtesy of Valerie Romness

Long-time Austinites might remember Homer the Homeless Goose, who rose to local and even national fame in the late 1980s as a champion for the rights of the homeless community. Homer served as the mascot for Austin’s unhoused population. He passed away last month at the age of 27 (a pretty long life for a goose – over 100 in goose years, according to Austin Zoo officials).

“Austin’s homeless mascot for 27 years took a forever flight…Folks that hear about him for the first time will wish that they could have met Ole Homer,” Fred Pettit wrote in The Challenger, a newspaper written and distributed by Austin's homeless.

A memorial will be held for Homer this weekend.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The homeless population in Austin is getting smaller.

At least that's what the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) found in its annual count of people who are homeless last month. But the population is still in the hundreds.

One of the reasons the non-profit is citing for the decline is a small but steady increase in affordable housing in Austin.

flickr.com/wstryder

One challenge many homeless people face is fighting addiction. And that battle could get tougher for some, as an Austin nonprofit that helps people recover from addiction has closed its detox facility – meaning new hurdles for the homeless and uninsured who need detox services.

This month, nonprofit Austin Recovery closed its detox facility. The detox process isn't pretty – in fact, it can be rather dangerous. Patients needed to be monitored around-the-clock by highly trained medical staff, just as if they were in a hospital setting.

Chronic homelessness can seem unsolvable. People bounce around from the street to jail to hospitals and back to the street. On Thursday, ground was broken on an $8 million effort to stop that cycle in southern Dallas. It's called the Cottages at Hickory Crossing.


Joy Diaz, KUT News

When you think about the word “homeless,” what comes to mind?

Homelessness can include a person who lacks housing. But it is also includes people in transitional housing. That's where Lydia Huerta, her husband and their three kids found themselves after they lost their home to flooding October 31.

Huerta says she "never really felt panic" until she lost her home. 

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