- Austin has too many fellow residents that experience homelessness and need assistance.
- The Salvation Army announced the sudden closure of its downtown women’s shelter.
- The closure of this facility is going to make it harder for us to meet the needs of our fellow residents.
I have written a lot in this blog about housing. It’s a passion and its probably the biggest issue (or at least one of the top two) facing our city. Its been a minute but incorporated in that is a discussion on homelessness. And how we can help our fellow Austinites experiencing homelessness.
As you will recall, back in the spring of 2021, we had a referendum here in Austin that would end public camping and basically destroy all of the homeless encampments around the city. At the time, I was a big proponent of reinstituting the camping ban. It just was not sustainable long term for our city to allow encampments all around the city. BUT – a big part of that ban had to be helping our residents find alternate housing.* I had no good suggestions on how to do that, I admit. But I was hopeful that smarter, more educated people did.
Unfortunately we got some bad news that is going to make solving that issue even harder. And that’s what we are talking about this week.
The Salvation Army Shelter has Abruptly Closed
Austin has developed into a big city. And like many big cities, too many of our fellow residents are experiencing homelessness. It’s a big issue that we need to help solve. One of the places that was vital to that solution is the Salvation Army Center at 8th and Red River. It houses approximately 100 single women experiencing homelessness.
A couple of weeks ago, the Salvation Army took Austin by surprise when it announced it was closing the shelter. This closure announcement struck a lot of people by surprise. Its not clear as of now why the shelter is being closed. Only that the plan is to sell off the land. There are, of course, a lot of people seeking an explanation for the closure.
The Salvation Army Closure will Make Housing More Difficult
The closure of the shelter has had a significant impact on the homeless community in Austin. Many individuals who relied on the shelter for food, shelter, and other basic necessities are now left to fend for themselves. With few alternative options available, many may be forced to sleep on the streets, in parks, or in other unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
The closure of the Salvation Army shelter has also put a strain on other organizations and services that serve the homeless population in Austin. With more individuals in need of assistance, these organizations are likely to struggle to keep up with the demand for their services. As a result, many homeless individuals may fall through the cracks and not receiving the help they need.
The Salvation Army shelter’s sudden closure announcement is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by organizations and individuals working to address homelessness and poverty in our communities. It highlights the need for increased support and resources to ensure that everyone has access to safe and secure housing, food, and other basic necessities.
As a society, we must work together to address the root causes of homelessness and poverty, and ensure that those in need have access to the resources and support they need to thrive. We are a Central Texas community. And ignoring or not serving our fellow residents in need is a mark on us all. I hope, therefore, that we will find a way to replace the services the Salvation Army provided and fill the needs of our fellow residents.
*Indeed, at a talk he gave, Matt Mackowiak, the head of Save Austin Now, told us that – after the ban was reinstated – he would work hard to help solve the homeless issue in Austin. I welcome hearing