City memo details findings of internal audit, recommendations for Austin shelter

While there is room for improvement, there is "insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations" made regarding the Northbridge Shelter, according to an internal audit conducted by Austin Public Health.

In September, FOX 7 spoke to a resident of the Northbridge Shelter who had positive reviews.

"They're doing a good job," said resident John-David Macintosh. "There's room checks three times a week, really good security."

However, concerns had also been raised about the shelter regarding issues like cleanliness, quality of food, fighting, drugs, and security.

Those allegations prompted the audit.

"The audit concluded that the allegations that were reported were not substantiated by evidence," said David Gray, interim homeless strategy officer with APH. "There was no evidence of high drug use or a lot of violence at the shelter."

According to a city memo that summarized the audit, clients must turn in any drug paraphernalia and weapons when they move in. Room inspections are performed two to three times a week. 

"The audit did have some recommendations on areas where we could improve," said Gray.

Recommendations included improving their system of logging incidents and improving staff training. As part of the audit, APH also had APD conduct a Safety Assessment. Some of those recommendations, like fencing and lighting improvements, are already underway or complete.


"We've enhanced our video reporting system, so now our cameras hold content for longer periods than they did before," said Gray. "And we've increased the frequency of our route checks to make sure that our clients are safe and that they're abiding by shelter policies and procedures."

The shelter currently serves about 70 clients. According to Gray, staffing numbers meet the federal "best practice" standards for operating a shelter.

"We're glad that the audit found that our operations are abiding by best practices and procedures, and at the same time, we're always open for opportunities to improve on the work that we're doing," said Gray.

According to the city memo, there has been one overdose death at the shelter. It occurred in October 2022.