$23M in new resources announced for homeless in Austin

$ 23 million of new resources announced for the homeless in Austin

Mayor Steve Adler and the City of Austin Housing Authority announced two new resources on Friday to help the homeless currently living in shelters and to build and finance new homes for the homeless.

New resources of $ 23 million have been announced for those living in shelters and homeless families in Austin.

Mayor Steve Adler and the Austin City Housing Authority (HACA) announced two new resources on Friday to help the homeless currently living in shelters and to build and finance new homes for the homeless.

More than a million dollars of those funds come from the CARES Coronavirus Relief Act. It will help to provide permanent support to 100 of the more than 300 people who live in Austin’s 5 refuges, also known as “ProLodges”.


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The homeless dilemma essentially remained unchecked for several months and was pushed into the background due to the presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic.


“These motels, which we originally wanted to open as permanent supportive accommodations, had to be used instead to keep the community safe during a pandemic,” said Steve Adler, Austin Mayor.

The Housing Authority has significantly reduced the criminal background review requirements for the program, informing FOX 7 Austin in a statement that it “only applies to lifelong registration sex offenders and those convicted of meth cooking in a government-sponsored housing unit who are.” Refuse admission “.

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“Only for the mainstream program have we denied admission to many different criminal convictions. Under this exemption, we will only deny admission to sex offenders with lifelong registration requirements and those convicted of meth cooking in a government-sponsored housing unit. “

When the waiver expires, we return to normal screening, where we reject attacks and theft, as well as patterns of domestic violence charges etc.

We have eliminated all lookback periods for all convictions except the two above. Those two charges are the only ones that the HUD says we must be denied admission. Individuals with these beliefs cannot be admitted to the program regardless of the timing of the crime. ”

A HACA spokesperson told FOX 7 Austin that the rollback means those convicted of murder, repeated domestic violence, assault, and other crimes will be accepted unless they are also lifelong registered sex offenders or for manufacturing convicted of meth in a government housing estate:

“The mainstream program will not refuse admission to these individuals unless they are also registered lifelong sex offenders and / or have also been convicted of meth making in government serviced homes. However, these new mainstream vouchers will be used for Non-Elderly Disabled People Prioritized The Protective Lodging Facilities (ProLodges) consist of 5 motels used by the city of Austin to temporarily shelter vulnerable people at high risk of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and / or serious adverse effects (based on) to protect CDC guidance) who cannot self-isolate, including people affected by homelessness. ”

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“At its core, everyone deserves security and a home to be safe in, and that is what we are striving for with this program,” said Michael Gerber, President and CEO of HACA.

The agency spokesman tells FOX 7 Austin that the agency will revert to its old review protocol after the federal waiver expires.

The vouchers will be available on February 1st, but the spokesman says the process of removing people from the shelters “will take time”.

The mainstream voucher program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help the homeless, not the elderly, with disabilities, according to HACA. A person who has issued a voucher can find a home on the private rental market. Housing benefit is paid directly to the owner / manager and the household pays between 30-40% of their income for rent.

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The main part of this new strategy is to require the homeless to attend treatment and vocational training programs.

Eligibility for the mainstream program requires that household income does not exceed 50% of the median income of the Austin metropolitan area, as determined by the HACA.

To meet the long-term need for permanent housing for the homeless, HACA is also announcing the availability of 100 project-based vouchers to create new housing options. These vouchers are made available as part of an application process to develop new permanent supportive housing or refurbish existing housing for the homeless, HACA says.

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The agency secured more than $ 1 million in project-based vouchers for twenty years from HUD each year. “Vouchers that you can give for a permanent support housing project that is either newly built or remodeled. We could maybe use it to open a hotel or two to get people off the streets,” said Adler .

HACA plans to issue vouchers for selected developments in February and March. The rent for homeless families and the value of the vouchers over a period of 20 years is expected to exceed $ 22 million. Any qualified organization looking to care for the homeless and access project-based vouchers can visit the HACA website.


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