AUSTIN—Today the Travis County Commissioners unanimously approved the sale of 7.5 acres of surplus, county-owned land on Tannehill Lane to the sole bidder, Mr. Dick Rathgeber. Rathgeber, who is Chairman of The Salvation Army of Austin’s Capital Campaign, has committed to donating the land to The Salvation Army for construction of a new women and children’s shelter. The land is adjacent to the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, which is operated by The Salvation Army and funded by the City of Austin. Following the vote, The Salvation Army released the following statement from Lt. Col. Henry Gonzalez, Salvation Army Area Commander:
“There is an invisible crisis of family homelessness in Austin, and today’s vote will help us address this challenge for our great city. We are deeply grateful for and humbled by Mr. Rathgeber’s generosity and vision to care for the most vulnerable of our citizens. We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with the Travis County Commissioners to see this vote come to fruition. Not only will the location of the new shelter contribute to the welcoming, campus-like environment we have cultivated for the existing shelter, this vote will also allow us to gain up to 35 percent efficiency by co-locating the facilities. Tens of thousands of women and children will eventually have access to services customized to meet their needs in a nurturing environment to help them move from crisis to self-sufficiency. Today’s vote is a win for Travis County, the City of Austin, The Salvation Army, and most of all, for the women and children who will find safe haven and a fresh start in this new facility.”
On October 14, 2015, The Salvation Army of Austin launched the public phase of its first capital campaign in 27 years by announcing it had raised $10 million of a $14 million goal. That announcement kicked off a six-week awareness campaign, Invisible Austin, to draw attention to the crisis of family homelessness in Austin. Frost Bank has agreed to support a social media campaign designed to raise public awareness of and engagement with the capital campaign. Every time the hashtag, #InvisibleAustin, is used on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and The Salvation Army Austin is tagged in the post, Frost Bank will give $10 to the capital campaign up to $50,000. For more information about the campaign or how you can get involved, visit www.InvisibleAustin.org and help solve the crisis of women and children experiencing homelessness.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 126 years in the Austin area. Locally thousands of people receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, to relief for disaster victims, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to those experiencing homelessness and case management to help people move from crisis to stability. Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army Austin spends is used to support those services in Travis and Williamson Counties. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org. Facebook.com/SalvationArmyAustin, Twitter.com/SalArmyAustin or Instagram.com/SalArmyAustin.
Last week The Salvation Army Austin launched its Capital Campaign. The campaign commemorates The Salvation Army’s 125th Anniversary and funds raised will support a renovated emergency shelter, a new shelter for women and children, new facilities to administer The Salvation Army programs, and a new drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for women. Our goal is to raise $14 million, of which – we are thrilled to announce – $10 million has been raised so far. Click here to read our campaign launch press release. You can also view our media coverage from KEYE and FOX7 which includes capital campaign speeches from Colonel Gonzalez and our board members on our youtube channel.
As the city of Austin grows, the number of families experiencing homelessness rises. You can help shine a light on the hidden crisis of family homelessness. A special website has been launched where visitors can download digital resources to share and find more facts about family homelessness at www.InvisibleAustin.org. Below are some examples of posts and tweets you can share to help the cause, plus information about a big social media challenge from Frost Bank. You can also show your support and take a picture with our #InvisibleAustin cutout and post or tweet your pic. Look for the cutout the next time you’re at an Austin event.
“There is a quiet crisis of family homelessness in Austin,” said Area Commander Lt. Colonel Henry Gonzalez. “Last year, three out of four of the clients sheltered in The Salvation Army emergency shelters were women and children. These families are behind the scenes, out of the public eye and in desperate need. We believe this is a crisis for our prosperous community. Through this capital campaign we are shining a spotlight on family homelessness and raising the resources to greatly expand our capacity to serve them.”
We are excited to announce that Frost Bank (@FrostBank) has generously agreed to support a social media campaign designed to raise public awareness and engagement of the capital campaign. During the six week campaign, every time the hashtag #InvisibleAustin is used on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and The Salvation Army Austin is tagged in the post, Frost Bank will donate $10 to the capital campaign up to $50,000!
We are thankful to all that have donated and that are helping spread the word to raise awareness of #InvisibleAustin. “…together we can address the crisis of women and children experiencing homelessness, and invest in the long-term success of Austin.” ~ Dwight Thompson, Advisory Board Chair
We’ve created some sample social media posts to make it easy for you to share:
Facebook post: For 125 yrs @SalArmyAustin has been the silent, steady partner meeting the needs of the #InvisibleAustin population. Donate & learn more at invisibleaustin.org
Tweet: Each night, @SalArmyAustin provides a bed to 420 neighbors in need. Help spread hope to the #InvisibleAustin ppl. at #InvisibleAustin.org
Diapers Needed at The Salvation Army Shelters
In conjunction with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, The Salvation Army is conducting a diaper drive for families who are experiencing homelessness. The Salvation Army is the only emergency shelter option in Austin for families, and we need a lot of diapers. Large sizes 4, 5 and 6 are especially needed.
Diapers can be donated at The Salvation Army Downtown Shelter and Social Services Center at 501 East Eighth Streeton Thursday, November 20, from 9 am to 4:30 pm or Friday, November 21.
OR donate at any of the four Salvation Army Family Stores in Austin or Round Rock on Thursday, November 20. See our Family Store page for locations and store hours. Each person who donates will receive a coupon to our Austin Salvation Army Family Stores.
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is held each year the week before Thanksgiving. This is a time for us all to start to think about what we are thankful for, and a perfect time to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness.
This year, National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is November 15-23, 2014.
The Salvation Army Austin is participating in National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week not only to bring greater awareness to our community, but also to help to promote the national endeavor to end hunger and homelessness. The plight of those without a home, or those living in poverty, can be both lonely and difficult.
Women and Children Experiencing Homelessness
Did you know that more than 65% of the people The Salvation Army Austin serves who are experiencing homelessness are women and children? Women and children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in our community.
Cold weather is coming to Austin, and The Salvation Army is prepared to support our homeless neighbors.
The plan (see below) has been activated for tonight, November 12, and The Salvation Army will take additional women in shelter. Additional men will be transported to local churches.
Winter weather can pose problems for the homeless. When the temperature drops to 35/32 (wet/dry) degrees and the homeless are outside in the elements, they need a safe warm place to sleep. On any given night, there are 289 beds occupied at The Salvation Army Shelter in downtown Austin and another 60 or more at the Austin Shelter for Women and Children.
On cold weather nights we work together with The City of Austin, Front Steps, several other local organizations, Capital Metro and local churches to provide up to 400 additional primary spaces in area churches and secondary shelter spaces in recreation centers.
The Salvation Army is accepting donations to support our ongoing support for the homeless in Austin as we work to help them get off the streets and into their own housing. Click here to make an online donation: http://salvationarmyaustin.org/donate-now/.
If you want to donate warm weather clothing, please take mittens, gloves, jackets, caps or other items to the downtown shelter at 501 East Eighth Street.
So how does this process work?
- When the temperature drops to 35/32 (wet/dry) degrees, and the homeless are outside in the elements, they need a safe warm place to sleep.
- There are approximately 400 additional primary shelter spaces that can accept the homeless on cold nights
- Two organizations contact the City Duty Officer by 1:00PM if church shelter is needed and/or park shelter may be needed. The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) and Front Steps are responsible for this action
- Capital Metro is the transportation agent who picks up and delivers the homeless at 7th Street and Neches
- All additional homeless persons, who are not already accommodated by the ARCH or The Salvation Army, will assemble inside The Salvation Army shelter
- The Salvation Army will determine which clients will stay at the downtown shelter and which ones will go to other shelters
- The Salvation Army provides breakfast the next morning for those returning on Capital Metro buses
Who makes the decision to transport the homeless on cold winter nights? Two organizations contact the City Duty Officer by 1:00 p.m. if church shelter is needed and/or park shelter may be needed. The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) and Front Steps are responsible for this action. The City Duty Officer contacts Capital Metro which is responsible for transportation.
How long can the homeless remain at the church/park shelters? The homeless are picked up at 7th Street and Neches. The pick-up time could be as early as 6:00 p.m. and as late as 9:30 p.m. depending on the circumstances. They are picked up at 6:00 a.m. the next morning.