The Downtown Shelter and Social Service, located at 501 East 8th Street, opened in 1987 and provides emergency shelter for more than 242 women, men and families with children on a nightly basis. 3,800 persons enter emergency shelter annually. Approximately 400 meals are served daily to residents and persons in the community. Residents are provided shelter anywhere from seven days to three months. Coming soon in 2020, The Salvation Army will be relocating families with children to the Rathgeber Center and there will be a re-purposing of the 55-bed Family Residence to shelter single adults.
The Salvation Army Social Services Center is the largest multi-population shelter in the area and provides a broad array of on-site supportive services such as case management, counseling, life skills training, educational programs, outsourced child care, and a community chapel, a comprehensive employment services program offers job search assistance and support as well as a transitional shelter option for new workers. Residents needing longer term support services are referred to the Passages Program and Rapid Re-Housing Program for six to 18 months of housing assistance, case management and support services i.e. subsidized child care.
In addition to basic needs services, residents are offered access to collocated community programs including The Salvation Army SafeSleep for at-risk single women, ECHO Coordinated Assessment, and Goodwill Employment Services.
The Salvation Army is the lead agency in the initiative to end family homelessness in our community.
Funding for The Social Services Center comes from city, county, state, federal, and private sources. The Austin Salvation Army operates two emergency shelters and is one of the largest providers of emergency shelter and basic needs services for homeless and low income people in the Central Texas area.