Friday, December 4, 2020

Council Supports Partnership to Provide Behavioral Health Services to Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

For immediate release: December 4, 2020
Contact: Nicole Golden, Office of Council Member Kathie Tovo

Council Supports Partnership for Behavioral Health Services
to Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

On Thursday, December 3, 2020, the Austin City Council approved a resolution sponsored by Council Member Kathie Tovo and co-sponsored by Mayor Adler, Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, Council Member Ann Kitchen and Council Member Pio Renteria to support a partnership between Integral Care, Downtown Austin Community Court and the Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST) to provide expanded behavioral health resources for individuals experiencing homelessness.

"We've seen the waitlist for our Intensive Case Management services more than double over the last year," said Downtown Austin Community Court's Director, Peter Valdez. "These additional resources will have a substantial impact in connecting some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community to compassionate, person-centered and housing-focused services to help them end their experience with homelessness."

The partnership will enable the Downtown Austin Community Court and HOST to identify and refer individuals experiencing homelessness to a new team that will provide resources to individuals to address behavioral health, substance use disorders and primary care health needs along with intensive case management and housing navigation support.

Integral Care will manage the team and will provide services anywhere someone needs help in addition to offering clinic-based care out of the Terrace at Oak Springs Clinic, located at 3000 Oak Springs Drive.

"Integral Care is excited to strengthen our collaborations with the City of Austin and Downtown Austin Alliance to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to services that rebuild their mental and physical health and support recovery," stated Ellen Richards, Integral Care's Chief Strategy Officer.

EMS Assistant Chief Andy Hofmeister said, "Members of the Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST) appreciate the continued support from Council and the community to address the issue of homelessness. HOST looks forward to working with this new resource and the continued partnership with the Downtown Austin Community Court and Integral Care." 

The resolution directs the City Manager to identify funding for the treatment team no later than December 10, 2020, and to also explore ­sources for potentially expanding the program outside of Downtown.

The Downtown Austin Alliance has pledged $260,000 for the first year of this pilot project.

 "The Downtown Austin Alliance is pleased to partner with Integral Care to launch Healthcare for the Homeless and to fund half of the first year's costs, as we believe it is critical to address the behavioral health and overall healthcare needs of people experiencing homelessness," stated Bill Brice, Downtown Austin Alliance's Vice President of Investor Relations.

"The Downtown Austin Alliance Ambassadors are prepared to support this program by connecting individuals experiencing homelessness Downtown with these critical services. This public-private partnership leverages key existing programs and resources to improve healthcare delivery with a focus on getting people stabilized and housed and can serve as a model that can be expanded across the City."