Ending Community Homelessness Coalition

State of the Coalition

by Ann Howard

A “polar express” has blown in and I’m worried about our clients sleeping outside. We need more shelter and more housing. But I do believe more is on the way. City Council members seem committed to supporting resources for affordable housing and Permanent Supportive Housing despite the narrow defeat of the housing bond, and they now must be creative to secure such funding. Tune into this week’s City Council meeting for Laura Morrison’s resolutions for next steps. To address the housing gap immediately, the Salvation Army downtown is hosting emergency safe sleep shelter for women, carrying on what 6 congregations have done since September.  Nearly 200 different women sought refuge in the churches. Please encourage women in need of shelter this month to visit the Salvation Army.   



Happy Holidays!  ECHO was in the giving chain last week - we were contacted by the owner of an RV that will make a wonderful home for someone.  Ann connected the donor with Alan Graham at Mobile Loaves & Fishes where the RV will be added to their stock of homes for single men and women. It was fun to be part of this generous gift. If you have gifts to share, please contact Ann or make a donation to ECHO to end homelessness.


We'd like to offer a year-end Thank You to all our ECHO volunteers. Volunteers are the bedrock of this coalition – they formed ECHO and continue to be critical in our mission to end homelessness. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Homeless Resource Fair and the upcoming Point-in-Time Count, require hundreds of volunteers and hundreds of hours of work. Our volunteer leaders deserve some love: Education and Outreach – Meghann Ziler, H&H Week -  Liz Simmons, Family Festival - Amber Fogarty &  Heather Thomas, Poverty Simulation – Jennifer Denton, PSH Video – Dawn Perkins & Marti Bier, Veteran’s Parade – Katherine Herrera and the Homeless Resource Fair – Taylor Seyer. These events were high quality, met goals, and done on budget. Many thanks to these leaders and the many critical team players who carried out the tasks so well.

This year's Point-In Time Count has been scheduled for January 25th & 26th and we're recruiting volunteers!  Sign up to participate with our volunteer registration form. Thanks to Tera Bock for leading this effort again this year!
The annual meeting was well attended; you could feel the high energy! (Might have been the Shiner beer donated by Alamo Drafthouse!) Judge Sam Biscoe challenged the crowd by saying, “we can do more,” to end homelessness. Others in attendance included Council Members Riley, Morrison, Cole and Tovo; Clarke Heidrick and Michael Whellan, partners at Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody who came to honor Ed McHorse with a $5000 contribution to ECHO; HHS directors from both City and County: Carlos Rivera & Sherri Fleming; David Evans (ATCIC), Jo Kathryn Quinn (Caritas), Mitchell Gibbs (Front Steps), Lisa Garcia (HACA), Craig Alter (HATC), and Charlie Betts (DAA). Ed McHorse commented that we are ready to make progress in 2013.

I appreciate your hard work this year on our housing process, transition planning for inmates leaving jail, representative payee organizations, HMIS, outreach to landlords and more. Many thanks to outgoing Membership Council members Julia Spann, Betsy Spencer, Tim Miles, Tim Bailey and Greg Gibson. Their leadership has us poised to accomplish much in 2013.  

Formula 1 didn’t slow down the Homeless Resource Fair! On November 17th, 697 clients made their way to the beautiful Austin State Hospital campus for the fair. Homeless Resource Fair Chair Taylor Seyer used her amazing organizational skills to bring together service providers, housing providers, and over 100 volunteers to address homelessness. The event provided attendees with medical services, referrals to social service agencies, legal assistance, haircuts, backpacks, sleeping bags, and much more. Mobile Loaves and Fishes provided a great lunch!  Council Member Kathie Tovo toured the medical area and the service providers and was moved to see so many citizens gathered and getting help. She also attended the Family Festival where she delivered a proclamation, and was impressed with the education activities for children that are designed to teach young people to both help and house the homeless.  

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