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Ending Community Homelessness Coalition
 

State of the Coalition

by Ann Howard

Now is the time to empty that little house piggy bank and donate to ECHO. Visit www.austinecho.org to learn more about our Amplify Austin campaign and give as we join with others to raise $1M for our community. More and more, we realize that ending homelessness requires community collaboration. Clients need housing, but many also need job training, health care, counseling, child care and more. To put the housing on the ground we need elected officials at the local and state level to enact policy that drives affordability and targets resources to those making 30% and below of the median family income. Then we need the services of many nonprofits to help folks maintain their housing. So give Austin, give. 

Recognizing this need for community collaboration over and over again, ECHO will launch a Coordinated Assessment initiative later this month to determine how best our community can streamline the path from homelessness to housing and hopefully prevent at-risk families from becoming homeless. The Steering Committee to direct this work includes Jessica Burkemper - Front Steps, Rachel Lawrence - SafePlace, Tim Miles - Foundation Communities, Kathy Ridings - Salvation Army, Jo Kathryn Quinn - Caritas, Stephanie Hayden, Tasha Ponzcek - City of Austin, Sandra Eames - TC Re-entry RoundTable, and Steve Bewsey - LifeWorks. ECHO staff looks forward to working with the Corporation for Supportive Housing to improve the integration of our work to end homelessness.


Playhouse Auction


MileStone Community Builders has donated 2 playhouses for us to auction off to raise money for our Amplify Austin campaign! Check them out! They're on the plaza at City Hall. Please share our auction flyer with your friends and colleagues! Bidding ends at 3 pm on March 4th. We’ll ask the winner of each playhouse to make their donation during Amplify Austin, from 7 pm on March 4th to 7 pm on March 5th.  

You are invited to ECHO's Volunteer Appreciation Event on March 20th at 5 pm at Banger's Sausage House. Help us celebrate the commitment of hundreds of individuals who work with us to support our mission of ending homelessness in Austin.
  • We had more than 300 volunteers canvass Travis County to count homeless men, women, and children on the streets, under highway bridges and in camps.
  • Volunteers facilitated Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, a week of events designed to educate the Austin community on the root causes of hunger and homelessness.
  • The Homeless Resource Fair served provided more than 550 attendees with medical services, referrals to social service agencies, legal assistance, haircuts, and lunch.
You can RSVP on our Facebook event page. We look forward to seeing you there!
This is an update on our SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) initiative. This project aims to improve access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for individuals who are homeless through a multi-pronged strategy designed to mitigate the challenges this population faces when navigating the SSI/SSDI application process. The result: cash and insurance for clients and reimbursements for providers.

Our Steering Committee, led by Lourdes Flores and Karen Hunt, is currently piloting 3 applications. We are connecting with medical stakeholders to address the critical role doctors play in documenting disabilities and a process for streamline communication between health care providers and agency case managers. We have just held our first SOAR refresher training for case managers.  

Save the Dates: We will host 2, 2-day SOAR trainings March 21-22 and June 13-14. Our SOAR trainers are Kameron Fowler (Front Steps) and Adam Lenker (Project Transitions).  More details to come.

ECHO is always looking for individuals who are interested in serving on the various ECHO Work Groups which are critical to implementing the 10 Year Plan to End Community Homelessness. The work groups meet monthly and are open to all so please feel free to attend!
  • CoC Work Group - Meets the first Wednesday of every month from 9:30 to 11 am at LifeWorks.  Co-Chairs - Tim Miles & Kameron Fowler
  • Data Work Group - Meets the fourth Friday of every month from 1 to 3 pm at ECHO.  Chair - Ben King
  • Housing Work Group - Meets the third Wednesday of every month from 9 to 10:30 am at NHCD. Co-Chairs - Darla Gay & Lisa Garcia
  • Outreach & Education Work Group - Meets the first Wednesday of every month from 3:30 to 5 pm at ECHO. Chair - Meghann Ziler
Our meeting calendar is posted online at http://www.austinecho.org/  For more information about our Work Groups, please visit our website.
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