Austin City Council approves purchase of former Salvation Army downtown shelter

The Austin City Council has approved purchasing the former Salvation Army shelter in downtown Austin.

The purchase includes the shelter at 501 E. 8th Street, a retail storefront property at 718 Red River Street and a surface parking lot at 700 Red River Street.

The Salvation Army announced in February it was closing the shelter, saying the COVID-19 pandemic brought into "sharp focus" the challenges of operating the aging facility. The announcement prompted protests from residents and advocates, which led to the city funding a 30-day extension of operations.


In June, Council approved a 12-month lease agreement for the shelter and a contract with California-based nonprofit Urban Alchemy to continue operations with a capacity to serve 150 women, transgender and special needs individuals nightly.

The City says Thursday's purchase will allow for long-term provision of services.


The purchase will help fill the need for nearly 1,000 shelter beds for homeless Austinites by the end of 2025. 

The City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division presented information about this gap in beds to Council in July.