Homelessness in Austin could end in 2023, city leaders say

2023 may be a big year in the move to end homelessness in Austin.

On Thursday, city leaders gave status updates on the multiple initiatives that are underway.

Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Gray said out of 1,300 new housing units planned under the "Finding Home ATX" initiative, around 1,000 are in the pipeline either under construction or soon to be.

Of the new housing in the works, the Espero at Rutland project is expected to open first. Anticipated completion of the 171-unit development by Caritas of Austin is January 2023.

The "Finding Home ATX" initiative was birthed out of a 2021 homeless summit and has the goal of re-housing 3,000 people by the end of 2024. 

Under the HEAL Initiative, also enacted in 2021, so far 361 homeless have been served, 117 are in a shelter and over 100 have been housed permanently. Of the 118 that have left shelters, 74 were connected to long-term housing resources.

"The news is not all rosy," said Grey. "The community at large is very aware of a decreasing affordability in our community, rents that have increased extremely rapidly, and we have seen eviction moratoriums end over the last several months."

According to Grey, the city’s shelters, which can hold around 900 people, have been at or near capacity for some time. Though new housing units are in the works, city leaders called for help from the private sector as well, asking landlords and property owners to help identify more, existing units that could be used as homeless housing.

"We know that helping people access permanent housing is the only real solution to end homelessness, and it’s our North Star," said Grey.

On Thursday, the City of Austin put out a call for public input regarding potential funding in the effort to reduce homelessness. 

Austin is eligible to receive $11.4 million of HOME-American Rescue Plan funds and the second public comment period to share feedback on the city’s proposal opens Oct. 6.