Wednesday, February 9, 2022

City-Owned Apartment Community to Support 60 Individuals Experiencing Homelessness


Over 1,000 new apartments are being developed to serve the homeless over the next three years


A City-owned hotel in north Austin is being converted into an apartment community with support services to help individuals who are experiencing homelessness move off the streets and into housing.
 
Austin City Council last week approved a contract to renovate a former hotel on Burnet Road and enter an agreement with Integral Care, the Local Mental Health Authority for Travis County, to operate the facility as Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH).
 
The new apartment community, named the Bungalows at Century Park, will comprise 60 fully furnished studio apartments, resident common spaces, and dedicated offices for delivery of social services. Other features will include onsite staffing 24 hours a day, onsite security, a laundry facility, and outside gathering space.
 
It will also offer onsite support to assist Austin residents exiting long term homelessness and living with disabilities. Integral Care services will be tailored specifically to support tenants managing chronic behavioral health conditions.
 
“This new apartment building will advance our community’s efforts to address homelessness for many years to come,” said City of Austin Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey. “It’s part of a broader citywide effort to ensure that hundreds of our most vulnerable neighbors are given the support they need to live healthy, stable, independent lives in the community.”
 
Permanent Supportive Housing is a type of affordable housing that includes ongoing support services, such as case management, mental health care, substance use treatment, wellness services and employment services. It is designed for individuals living with disabilities who need housing assistance and ongoing support as they exit long-term homelessness.
 
Eligible individuals, who will sign a yearly lease to live in their apartment, will be single adults with a documented chronic homelessness history and a disabling condition. Potential residents will be referred through the community’s Coordinated Entry System.
 
“We’re excited to work with the City of Austin to bring even more permanent supportive housing to our community,” said Ruth Ahearn, Practice Administrator for Integral Care. “Transforming a former hotel into 60 units of permanent supportive housing is a creative way to expand the number of affordable, barrier-free units that our community so desperately needs.
 
“The Bungalows at Century Park will build on the success of other permanent supportive housing communities that improve the health and well-being of its residents and save our community dollars in public resources.”
 
All told, there are currently roughly 1,200 PSH units in the community, including units that are supported by agencies and organizations other than the City of Austin.
 
The 60 new units planned for Burnet Road are part of a larger pipeline of over 1,000 new apartments being developed to serve the homeless over the next three years, supported by both the City of Austin and Travis County. About 400 of these 1000 units will be PSH, and all units will accept referrals solely from the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), which maintains a community-wide list of those waiting for housing.

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