Around noon today (i.e. Friday), there’s going to be a big old “Whoopee!” heard throughout North Texas. It will take place at Austin Street Center’s 20th Annual Humble Beginnings (virtual) Luncheon, when ACS CEO Daniel Roby and ACS Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Best officially announced a $15M capital campaign — Help Them Home — to be chaired by Comerica Inc. Executive VP/Chief Human Resources Officer Megan Burkhart.
The funds will go to “the development and new construction of a 60,000-square-foot, 2.3-acre campus in South Dallas.”
Since the plans for the project have been in the works since late 2018, the campaign has already “received more than 28 gifts totaling more than $11.4 million from generous North Texas companies, individuals, foundation and organizations alike, with a significant start of $3.5 million in lead gifts.”
Stressing ASC’s longtime commitment to help the homeless, Daniel explained, “Austin Street Center has served the City of Dallas and our neighbors experiencing homelessness for more than 30 years. Over the years the number of people we serve has not only increased, but so have our wraparound services, community partnerships and significant housing placements. The new Austin Street Center for Community Engagement will make way for a master-planned, 24/7 client-focused shelter and day service center, designed specifically around our proven process that Helps Them Home.”
The expansion is no surprise since the homeless situation in Dallas has been a growing problem. As Nancy put it, “Dallas has a housing crisis with a general increase in homelessness and a 725 percent increase in unsheltered homelessness since 2009. This new facility will further Austin Street Center’s legacy of care and provide clients with the resources they need from medical respite and mental health care, to employment services, safe shelter and a nutritious meal. Together these services are geared to help them transition out of homelessness and into a home of their own.”
With plans calling for breaking ground “later this year,” Megan further explained the importance of the undertaking: “’With “Housing First’ as its guiding core philosophy, Austin Street Center is intent to better serve the growing needs of our neighbors experiencing homelessness, in a collaborative manner with other homeless service providers, while bringing an end to homelessness throughout our community. The outcomes of the expanded services and capacity of Austin Street Center means safer, cleaner streets, and dramatic savings in tax dollars. The average cost to the civic infrastructure is approximately $40,000 per year, per homeless person. Austin Street this past year alone saved more than $8.5 million tax dollars, by housing 214 of our homeless neighbors. With the construction of the Austin Street Center for Community Engagement, it is anticipated that more than 760 individuals will be housed annually, further resulting in more than $30 million in taxpayer savings. This is a win-win for everyone.”
If you would like to be part of the campaign, donate here.
BTW, if you would like to attend the streaming live luncheon featuring Tony and Grammy Awardee Leslie Odom Jr., get your ticket now!
* Graphic/photo provided by Austin Street Center