City of Austin continues to address homeless crisis

The City of Austin is continuing to work to address the homeless crisis.

During a joint committee meeting, council members got an update on current and future housing projects.

Permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing are two of the projects the City of Austin's homeless strategy office utilizes to address the homeless crisis.

"What we're talking about is housing assistance for folks that allows them to exit homelessness and stabilize their housing needs, and that for the city contracts, that assistance is delivered over a period of 24 months. The additional tailored package of assistance includes a connection to a case manager who is there to help individuals overcome their barriers to maintain their housing," said David Gray, homeless strategy officer.

Gray told city council during a joint committee meeting that the City of Austin currently oversees 13 rapid rehousing contracts.

"We supported 2,226 people through this investment last year. 74% of our rapid rehousing exits have been positive exits. That represents 510 households. 26% of the exits have been negative. That represents 177 households," said Gray.

He said, currently, this is funded with federal dollars that are expected to run out by 2025. So, the city must come up with a plan to come up with funds to continue these programs for the 2026 fiscal year.

Kensington Apartments, Bungalows and Libertad are just the names of three of the five developments that are expected to open by the end of this year as homeless response system housing. Pecan Gardens and Balcones Terrace are the first to open, expected to open this summer.

Gray adds that more work needs to be done when it comes to planning for funds as several other developments are in the works to address the homeless crisis.

"These are projects that, you know, we're not talking about in these, like, theoretical kind of conceptual phases. These are projects that are being developed and under construction right now. You could drive by almost all of these sites and see dirt being turned, cranes in the sky and buildings being built," Gray said.