Ending Community Homelessness Coalition
State of the Coalition
by Ann Howard
Yesterday, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a second round of grants for more than 500 local homeless housing and service programs across the U.S, provided through the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program. We are pleased to report that all 21 of Austin's renewal projects have been funded, totaling $5,388,427. Hats off to our partners who are great stewards of these precious public dollars: Salvation Army, ATCIC, LifeWorks, Caritas, SafePlace, Front Steps, Foundation Communities, Green Doors, HACA, Travis County Housing Authority and ECHO. Yes, ECHO receives CoC funding to run the ever improving HMIS. We are still hoping HUD will fund three more grants for us - a LifeWorks initiative to offer permanent supportive housing (PSH) at their new site on Pleasant Valley, a Front Steps initiative to expand PSH, and support for ECHO. With this $5.3M, these ECHO partners exceed HUD goals for keeping folks housed, transitioning folks into permanent housing, making sure tenants have income and connecting folks to other services. Lastly, thanks to Sam Woollard for her continued guidance with the HUD process.  

ECHO partners are digging deep to consider a true coordinated, or shared assessment process and further specialization of staff members involved with locating housing for clients. Coordinated assessment is a new HUD requirement, and one that promises to focus on client needs instead of agency programs. The idea is that a team of experienced problem solvers located across the community would assess each client in a standardized way to determine the housing intervention needed to bring stability to that client. Once the client needs are known, the client is directed to the local housing or service agencies that can meet those needs. We are exploring the pros and cons of this and continuing to work on what implementation requires. The Steering Committee includes Jessica Burkemper – Front Steps, Rachel Lawrence – SafePlace, Tim Miles - Foundation Communities, Jo Kathryn Quinn - Caritas, Kathy Ridings – Salvation Army, Steve Bewsey - LifeWorks, HHS - Stephanie Hayden/Tasha Ponczek – City HHS, Sandra Eames - TC Re-Entry Roundtable, Kim Dear – Seton, Ben King – Seton, Darilynn Cardona-Bieler  - ATCIC, and Lisa Garcia - HACA.

In the coming weeks we will focus on community definitions and program components of PSH and Rapid Rehousing. Let me know if you want to get involved and aren't already!



Sunday, May 19th

The Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA) presents the 9th Annual Downtown Living Tour, featuring residences around Austin’s lively metropolitan area on Sunday, May 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Use coupon code "DLTECHO" for $5 off the ticket price!
For the first time, complimentary, air-conditioned shuttles will take attendees from one stop to the next, while champagne, cocktails and snacks will be provided at tour stops along the way. General Admission tickets include shuttle service and a tour stop at the new Foundation Communities Capitol Studios site!  Enjoy a leisurely Sunday filled with gorgeous views, delicious drinks, and eye-catching décor!  A portion of the proceeds benefit ECHO.

Tickets are $25 and are available for purchase on the DANA website. Tickets will also be available the day of the tour at The Whitley. For more information please visit:

Keep Austin Affordable's Austin Success Stories

Keep Austin Affordable is a coalition of business, faith and community leaders calling for investment in affordable housing by putting city bonds back on the ballot in November 2013. The video features an elderly grandmother, a disabled vet, and the parents of a child who had severe birth defects tell their stories. These Austin residents describe how funding for affordable housing or home repairs for low-income residents helped them successfully endure difficult circumstances.

The affordable housing bonds have successfully helped thousands of our Austin neighbors in need find a place to call home. The 2006 housing bond money has been completely spent on creating thousands of attractive new apartments and houses all over the city while helping seniors on fixed income and people with disabilities stay in their homes with critical home repairs. If we want to keep this success story going, we need to pass a new set of affordable housing bonds.

Keep Austin Affordable is calling on the Austin City Council to put a new $60-70 million affordable housing bond package on the ballot this November so Austin voters can help our community keep a good thing going and ensure Austin remains affordable for all our residents. To find out how you can help, visit:

“Building the Bridge to the Future: Lessons Learned from HPRP” - and leading the way to Coordinated Assessment

Caritas of Austin is featured in national video showing promising strategies to successfully re-housing people. As part of the stimulus package, HUD allocated $1.5 billion in funding between 2009 and September 2012 for the now completed Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). Through HPRP, communities created partnerships and program models for intervening quickly with financial assistance and coordinating services to help more than 1.3 million people across the nation to find or keep their housing. These partnerships and lessons learned can be carried forward into HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and Continuum of Care (CoC) Programs.
To present some of what the nation learned from HPRP, this 12-minute video shares the experiences of community leaders and program participants in Georgia, California, and Texas, including Caritas.  The video highlights strategies and best practices that communities implemented through HPRP, highlighting HUD’s priorities in implementing rapid re-housing programs, coordinated assessment, and quality data collection using the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

Integral Care Receives National Recognition for
Excellence in Mental Health     
On April 9, 2013 - Austin Travis County Integral Care was recognized for local outreach and education on Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) at the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare's Conference in Las Vegas, NV. MHFA educates non-medical professionals and the public on key skills to help someone experiencing a mental health crisis. MHFA is being used across the country as a best practice in a time when the public calls for increased access and education supports for mental health. We featured MHFA in an event during last year's Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week and had more than 40 participants.

MHFA is an important community awareness program because it educates the broader community about mental health problems, associated symptoms and connects people with care for their mental health problems. Integral Care began providing MHFA trainings in 2009, and has certified more than 800 key professionals and members of the community, including: school personnel, educators, nurses, emergency department social workers, direct service staff in behavioral health care settings, volunteers and the general public. Click here to see a course schedule for MHFA training. For more information, email

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