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State of the Coalition
by Ann Howard, Executive Director

I hope you rested well this Labor Day weekend. I’m happy to announce that 20+ women without a place to sleep found safety and refuge on a church floor in our emergency Safe Sleep Shelter for Women (SSS) that opened on Sunday, September 2nd. I also salute the ECHO staff for the hours they labor to support the others across the community who share in our mission to end homelessness. The women seeking shelter were young and old, slight and sturdy, black, white and Hispanic. Some had pillows, one had a laptop and all seemed appreciative for the respite. This shelter will run as a pilot for 10 weeks. SSS is a partnership with the following churches: St. David’s Episcopal, St. Martin’s Lutheran, First United Methodist, University Baptist and Central Presbyterian. Many thanks to Irit Umani, Executive Director of Trinity Center who called leaders together to address the needs of homeless women on the street. Leadership comes from Sharon Lowe and Trey Nichols who are applying their experience running the Interfaith Hospitality Network to SSS logistics. Thanks to David Gomez and other ATCIC staff for their participation. The bulk of the financial support comes from the Religious Coalition and Foundation Communities. In the long run, additional affordable and supportive housing is required to meet the needs of women and children, but additional shelter seems imperative. Council Member Tovo has asked the City Manager to launch discussions with Travis County about expanding the Salvation Army run shelter on Tannehill. Additional monies to improve/expand this shelter are included in the November Bond Package. 

Calling all Affordable Housing Advocates - We need your help to ensure the City G.O. Bonds pass voter approval on November 6th. Voters will need to scroll towards the bottom of the ballot to find Prop.15 that provides $76.8M for affordable housing. These bonds do not raise taxes, but voters must approve them. Prop. 15 expands the number of affordable rental units, adds to the number of homes to be repaired, and increases the number of Permanent Supportive Housing units on the ground. Spread the word – Vote Yes on the City G.O. Bonds, especially #15 for affordable housing. If you would like to help with this effort, please contact Ann Howard.  
 



Announcement:  Website Launch

ECHO is excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website, which went live on August 1st and is located at the same address: www.austinecho.org. The website will be updated on a regular basis, with news of events, announcements, and new content. We will be encouraging community members to access the website and sign up for our newsletter, the first issue of which was released in May.  In addition, you will find links to local news articles, our ECHO membership form, our meeting calendar, and more!

Our goal with the new site is to provide our community with a way to learn about homelessness in our community, why we do what we do, and how to get involved.  

The new website offers eight main points of navigation:
Home Page.  Who we are and what we do.
Leadership.  Our Board of Directors, membership, and staff.
Events. Our meeting calendar and upcoming events.
Homeless Services.  A listing of homeless service providers.
HMIS. The Homeless Management Information System.
Contact.  Where you can find us.
Get Involved. Ways you can participate.
Media Center.  Stay up to date with news articles.

HMIS Update
by Garrett Olin
 
HMIS has recently started to publish a Community Data Report focused around the at-risk and homeless individuals served. The information is updated weekly and also provides Year-to-Date values. The numbers are unique individuals that are reported in the categories reported for the week and year. It is possible that the same person is counted each week but would only be counted once for the year. 
 
You may find the Community Data Report at www.austinecho.org/community-data. HMIS will be providing more data in the future and hope that you find it informative.

Advocacy is Alive

Thanks to Mitchell Gibbs and Jo Kathryn Quinn who joined Ann Howard in visiting with staff from U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s office.  Spring Terrace residents shared their stories about the life saving and life changing support they received from Front Steps, Caritas and Foundation Communities. Jo Kathyrn and Ann also visited with Congressman John Carter’s office last week. Carter sits on the House Appropriations Committee and has a vote on McKinney–Vento funding. Feel free to express your support for HUD funding by emailing Judge Carter.

 


Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week
 
November 10th - 18th is a week of events designed to educate the Austin community on the root causes of hunger and homelessness in Central Texas. This week of events will  run from Saturday, November 10th to Sunday, November 18th, 2012. Our goal is to raise awareness that leads to action against hunger & homelessness in Austin and Travis County. See our Get Involved and Scheduled Events pages for more details. 

Copyright © 2012 Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, All rights reserved.
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