The Austin Shelter for Women and Children is a city-funded facility operated by The Salvation Army. Our goal as operator of the program is to provide “wrap-around” services designed to assist homeless women in ensuring that homelessness is brief, rare, and non-recurring. Based on a model of trauma-informed care, objectives focus on obtaining safe and stable housing, income necessary to support housing, and personal stability. The Austin Shelter for Women and Children has a special focus on children’s services which include licensed child care, child/family therapy, specialized school aged children’s groups, family field trips and evening activities, and after-school tutoring and transportation to local schools. The shelter has recently completed a city-funded renovation and expansion to address the greater community need.
Read about a woman’s experience of checking in to the Austin Shelter for Women and Children on pages 6-7 of our 2018 Annual Report.
Applicants are accepted on a first call first serve basis, and the center maintains a call-back list which has averaged more than 300 women and children for the past year. This project included renovations to the existing 17,000 square-foot facility, a new 4,900 square-foot residential wing, and a new 3,200 square-foot child care facility, which will aid in improving and increasing services. The project was constructed in phases allowing the existing facility to remain continuously operational to serve women and children in need. The additional residential space has increased the shelter from 60 beds to 81.
During an average stay of approximately 90 days, clients work on plans to acquire permanent housing and increase their skills and income. Many are linked to rapid rehousing, transitional and permanent housing opportunities through The Salvation Army’s collaborative initiatives such as the Passages Program. Austin Shelter for Women and Children staff provide follow -up case management in these cases for 6 to 18 months after participants are housed. The Austin Shelter for Women and Children has a highly qualified staff of social work, counseling and educational professionals who work as an interdisciplinary team. The focus on trauma-informed services, health/wellness, and connection to mainstream housing and employment resources contribute to the successful percentage of exits to safe and stable housing