homelessness

Texas
11:13 am
Mon April 21, 2014

With New Cottages, Dallas' Homeless Getting Keys To A Better Future

John Rhodes, 59, is homeless but recently found shelter at Austin Street Center in Dallas.
Stella M. Chávez KERA News

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:48 am

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.

The KERA radio story

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Turning the Corner
8:49 am
Fri March 21, 2014

There's a Different Kind of Homelessness for Onion Creek Flood Victims

Lydia Huerta stands by the RV that she called home for months. Her house is fully rebuilt, and her family is moving back in.
Credit 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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Homelessness
4:58 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Austin's Homeless Population is Shrinking. Is It Permanent?

Bruce Klein has been homeless for years. Klein says he owes his survival to the goodness of strangers. He believes it's only a matter of time before number of people living on the streets of Austin spikes back up.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News.

This year’s count of people who are homeless shows a decline in numbers for the Austin area. It’s the fourth consecutive year of decline. So, what’s behind the shrinking numbers of people who live on the streets?

Ann Howard leads an organization called ECHO -- the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. She hopes the day will come when there are no more people who are homeless and then she’ll move to a different line of work. And, if her predictions are right, that day may come soon for Austin.

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Homelessness
9:27 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Photos: Inside Austin's Annual Homeless Count

Tivas, a homeless man who lives under the RM 2222 and Mopac Expressway overpass, jokes with ECHO team leader Edward McHorse. A federally mandated "point in time" count of Austin's Homeless takes place each January.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: KUT's was on hand to document the homeless count this weekend. Take a look in the photo gallery above. You can see more photos on the KUT Austin Flickr page.

Original story: (Jan. 25) It’s the annual Point in Time Count of the Homeless here in the Austin area. Hundreds of volunteers were out Friday and again before dawn Saturday, finding out how many people are living here without permanent shelter.

Ann Howard is the Executive Director of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, known as ECHO. She says the counts are going on across the country in the last week of January, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It’s just coincidence that this year’s falls on a night in Austin when temperatures are below freezing and extra shelters are open.

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Homelessness
8:45 am
Mon November 25, 2013

VIDEO: The Hidden Face of Austin's Homeless

Children and families are among Austin's homeless.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

While the visible face of homelessness tends to be a single person by the side of the road in the downtown area, homelessness is so much more – it can be your cousin, your neighbor, your childhood friend, families with little children.

KUT’s Jorge Sanheuza-Lyon put together this video on the hidden face of homelessness in Austin:

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Homelessness
5:57 am
Mon November 18, 2013

VIDEO: Sunrise Memorial Service for Homeless Austinites Who Died in Poverty

Austinites gathered at the Homeless Memorial and Tree of Remembrance at Auditorium Shores on Sunday to pay tribute to people in the city's homeless community who have died over the past year.

Organizers of the 21st annual House the Homeless Sunrise Memorial Service read the names of 146 people. They placed a small star for each name on the Tree of Remembrance next to the memorial.

KUT's Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon was at the service and put together this video:

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Homelessness
4:55 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Here's What Austin's Newest Housing For the Chronically Homeless Looks Like

Each home will have its own garden. The idea is to have beauty all around the property.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

Plans are moving ahead in the Austin area to house about 200 people who are chronically homeless.  Community First Village has been about a decade in the making and in just a matter of months, it will break ground.

The property is 27 acres, with little cottages, mobile homes and even some teepees dotting the landscape. A three-acre community garden is also on-site. 

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Downtown
5:06 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Wooldridge Park Reopens – Will it Stay a Magnet for Austin’s Homeless?

Sen. Kirk Watson, Parks & Rec’s Marty Stump, Council Member Sheryl Cole, Austin Parks Foundation’s Colin Wallis, Council Member Chris Riley, Rep. Elliot Naishtat, and the Downtown Austin Alliance’s Charles Betts cut the ribbon on Wooldridge Square.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

After a year-long closure, the chain-linked fence surrounding Wooldridge Park is down and the space is open to the public again.

The $306,800 renovation covered park improvements including drought-tolerant turf grass, a new irrigation system and electrical upgrades including high-efficiency LED light fixtures.

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Austin
5:10 am
Fri May 3, 2013

This Air Force Vet Makes Socks for Austin's Homeless. Here’s Why.

Tim Scott named his company MitScoots, a tough name to pronounce, which comes from Scott’s childhood.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Story as it aired on KUT 90.5 FM

As you got ready this morning, how much did you think about which socks to wear? Socks are one of those items most people don’t dwell on. But an Austin Air Force veteran learned the importance of a pair of good, clean socks the hard way -- which led him to start his own socially conscious sock company.

Tim Scott named his company MitScoots, a tough name to pronounce, which comes from Scott’s childhood. As a 5-year-old with dyslexia, he was learning to write his name. Tim became Mit. And Scott became Scoot.

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Austin
5:33 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Students Team Up With Activists for Hunger Film Project

A still from a short film by Emily Ng on Keep Austin Fed, a local organization that serves surplus food from restaurants and bakeries to people dealing with hunger.
Emily Ng

Hunger in Austin is the focus of a series of videos produced by students at the University of Texas, the project of an organization called the Creative Activist Network.

The network pairs activists with creative college students to produce content that communicates their social concerns. Some of these films will be screened tomorrow night along with the documentary A Place at the Table, which examines hunger in the United States.

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SXSW
5:23 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Over SXSW, 'Street Treats' Snack Carts Put Homeless to Work

Coffee and snack wagons are giving some homeless people in Austin a source of income.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Can homeless people pedal their way into a home? An Austin nonprofit certainly hopes so. 

It also hopes to capitalize on the large crowds drawn to town for South by Southwest. So, during the festival, the nonprofit Mobile Loaves and Fishes equipped a group of homeless people with foot-powered snack-vending carts and uniforms. The new business is called Street Treats, and the vendors get to keep the profits.

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Austin
8:06 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Travis County Homeless Population Dropping

Data provided by ECHO

The annual Austin/Travis County homeless count shows the number of homeless people living the area is down by 5.5 percent from last year to 2,121.

The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition or “ECHO” conducted the count late last month.

The count determines the level of federal funding the area will receive and helps community organizations determine which services need to be improved.

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Austin
1:58 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Group Helping Austin's Homeless Hits the Ground Running

Back on My Feet has 10 chapters nationwide.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Back on My Feet, a national non-profit that helps homeless people through running, is launching an Austin chapter today. 

“Our members don't want to be homeless, they just don't know how not to be homeless,” founder and president Anne Mahlum says. The idea is to build the health and self-esteem of homeless individuals through running, before putting them in touch with employment opportunities.

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Austin
7:58 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Counting Travis County's Homeless Population

A homeless individual in Wooldrige Park last year. Teams of volunteers canvassed Travis County to count the homeless this weekend.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Across the United States, groups are attempting to get a firm count of the number of homeless people living in their midst. In Travis County this past weekend, the count was led by a group called Ending Community Homelessness or ECHO.

For the first time in the history of the count, volunteers reached the Travis County limits in order to get more accurate numbers.

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Austin
12:26 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

'Coats for Kids' Aims to Provide Warmth, Confidence

Coats in a collection barrel at Jack Brown Cleaners.
Laura Rice, KUT News

It hasn’t been too cold in Austin so far this season. But kids whose families can’t afford to buy them a good winter coat have already felt the chill of fall.

Coats for Kids is collecting new and gently used coats to pass out to those children in need. Donations can be dropped off at any Jack Brown Cleaners in the Austin area. The dry cleaning company will make sure the coats are in tip top shape so the kids who receive them aren’t just kept warm but are also proud of their new coat.

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The Lead
8:31 am
Wed November 14, 2012

The Lead: Austin Homeless Question Police Push Downtown

Good morning. After a chilly start, Austin should warm to highs in the mid-60s, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s some stories KUT News has been working on.

"Violent crime in Austin’s downtown area has risen by nearly 17 percent, according to the latest FBI statistics, although Austin police say the city remains one of the safest in the nation.  Police have ramped up their downtown presence. And that’s raising its own set of concerns among advocates for the city’s homeless."

"Texas Governor Rick Perry has given his support to a bill that would have recipients of unemployment benefits submit to drug tests. Those failing a test would be denied benefits for 12 months, or until they completed a drug treatment program."

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Homelessness
2:47 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Five Ways to Fight Hunger and Homelessness This Week

A "hunger banquet," featuring portion sizes based on the luck of the draw, is one event this Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
Flickr user Still_life88_second, bit.ly/TvWSHM

The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) kicked off its annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week this past weekend. ECHO will host daily community events through Nov. 18 to educate Austin residents on the causes of homelessness and hunger. ECHO hopes community education spurs community action to help end local homelessness.

To that end, several events are being hosted by ECHO and other community groups this week. Here's a rundown: 

  • Oxfam Hunger Banquet, Tuesday, Nov. 3: Meals are served based on the luck of the draw.  While some attendees will be served filling meals,others will have relatively bare plates. The banquet is aimed at raising awareness of inequalities in food distribution in the world.
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Education
11:21 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Help Your Kids Learn About Homeless People Saturday

Homeless people standing in line at Caritas
KUT News

What do you say to your kid when you’re stopped at a traffic light on the I-35 frontage road and they ask why that person is holding a sign asking for money? It’s a question that Amber Fogarty gets a lot. She’s been a homeless advocate in Austin for the last eight years.

“I tell them to be honest,” Fogarty says. “I also tell them that if they don’t know how to be honest, to try to find the answers.”

Fogarty is helping to organize an event this Saturday she hopes will provide some of those answers. The ECHO Family Festival will give children a chance to put together hygiene kits that will be distributed by Mobile Loaves and Fishes.

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Austin
11:09 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Aggressive Panhandling Top Concern of Downtown Residents

People line up outside of the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless in downtown Austin.
KUT News

Some people who live and work in downtown Austin spoke out at yesterday's Public Safety Commission meeting in support of the Austin Police Department’s so called “Public Order Initiative."

While Police Chief Art Acevedo says the zero-tolerance policy that went into effect in September is not an anti-homeless initiative… it does crack down on crime often associated with the homeless—including violations of the city’s ‘sit and lie’ ordinance.

Some have speculated that APD’s crackdown is happening because of the influx of visitors expected for Formula 1. But the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA) says it’s a long-term problem.

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Texas
8:21 am
Tue November 6, 2012

The Lead: Election Day 2012 Edition

Good Morning, Austin. The National Weather Service says this Election Day should be a beautiful one with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s tonight.

KUT will continue extended Election Day coverage today and tomorrow but, don't worry, John Aielli and Jay Trachtenberg will be back on the air as usual starting Thursday.

Here are some of the stories KUT News has been working on:

Election officials recommend that you vote early today. Get it done before you head into work if you can. If you can’t make it before getting to work; you can still go. By law, you’re entitled to paid time off for voting on Election Day, unless you’re off work for two consecutive hours during the times the polls are open. And remember you don’t have to drive all the way back home to vote in your local precinct this year.

Texans vote today on state representatives, some state senators, and Board of Education members. But do elected officials have the most power in Texas politics? Not always. Jennifer Stayton talks with Dave Mann of The Texas Observer about the seven biggest donors in Texas politics and what they’re getting for their money.

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