Travis County is set to be the first city in Texas to utilize an initiative that's designed to provide services to and house up to 250 homeless people. The initiative would require outside investors to pay certain costs upfront, and if all goals are met, to then be reimbursed by the local government.
“Pay For Success,” as the initiative is currently known, has, as of late, become extremely popular throughout the United States. The first initiative of its kind was originally launched in the United Kingdom back in 2010.
Investors would, according to the details of the initiative, cover the costs of projects that address various social issues. If the initiative is successful, the investors are then repaid by the local government, which could include a substantial return on their investment.
When launched in Travis County, the initiative would house up to 250 homeless people, as previously stated. This would likely be done through subsidized rental housing partnered with case management and similar services. The main targets would be those who frequently use health care, emergency medical resources, have been arrested frequently, and shelter.
Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, also known as ECHO, is currently spearheading the project, which is expected to cost around $15 million; however, ECHO would actually need to secure approximately $17 million in pledges form the government in order to cover all investor returns.
So far, around $1.3 million has been donated to help get the project off the ground. Assurances from three local governmental entities have also been received, which stated that they will cover the majority of the reimbursement funding.
All of the specific benchmarks are currently scheduled to be determined during a final meeting between organizers and local governments.
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.