Salvation Army of Austin to open new 212-bed Rathgeber Center Wednesday

The Salvation Army of Austin's new 212-bed Rathgeber Center For Families will be welcoming its first families from the downtown Social Services Center on Wednesday.

The center will provide shelter and housing-focused case management to homeless families with children with a plan to return them to self-sufficiency, according to a release from the Salvation Army. Families will be admitted to the center without regard to the gender of the adults.

The center, located at 4613 Tannehill Lane in East Austin, will provide replacement shelter for the 55-bed family residence at the downtown shelter, which will then be repurposed to help single homeless adults. Once those families are situated, the center will start to accommodate waitlisted families, says the release.

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The $12 million center was built in two phases: a 120-bed, 40-room emergency shelter (Phase 1) and a 92-bed, 23-suite extended-stay shelter (Phase 2). The extended-stay units will shelter families with higher barriers needing additional time to be permanently housed. The average stay is up to 90 days for the emergency shelter rooms and up to six months for the extended-stay rooms.

At 100-percent capacity, the Rathgeber Center is expected to provide 77,380 bed nights, serve 664 people annually, including 434 children, and serve over 200,000 meals, says the release.


In addition to case management services, the center will offer full service rapid rehousing programs on-site to assist clients, employment assistance and skills training, outsourced childcare, a child and family therapist, a computer learning center, teachers and tutors, private bathrooms in each room, laundry facilities, a full-service kitchen and dining room, and a children's playground.

The Salvation Army says the new shelter will increase the current budget by $4.7 million a year to be fully operational.