There is great news for Homeless Outreach Street Team in the city of Austin, as the Austin City Council has officially approved additional funding for the group, which is slated to go into effect at the beginning of September.
The additional funding totals $195,000 and is designed to cover the cost of a brand new position for the group, that being a certified peer specialist/recovery coach. Additionally, the extra funding will also address more immediate needs such as the following:
*Obtaining bus passes
*Obtaining official identification documents
The Homeless Outreach Street Team works to connect members of Austin's homeless population with all of the services that are necessary in order to help them get back on their feet and become more stable. These programs include the following:
In terms of the peer specialist position, the idea is that this would go to an individual who has been where members of the homeless population currently are, as well as someone who can address issues such as substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions. While the individual hired for this position will need to be officially certified, they must also have been previously homeless themselves as well.
One issue that was not included in the additional funding, however, is the ability to move the team's efforts beyond downtown Austin. This is something that the group has suggested doing previously.
Homelessness is a known humanitarian issue in Austin, and according to the numbers, there’s some good news and some bad news regarding the battle to decrease the number of homeless individuals in the Texas capitol city.
The good news is that, according to KVUE ABC, there was an overall 25% reduction in youth homelessness, and a decrease in homeless veterans in Austin between 2018 and 2019.
The city of Austin began a program in 2017 with LifeWorks to help lower the number of homeless youth on the streets, and that program appears to be working.