Thursday, November 9, 2023

City of Austin Approves Purchase of Former Salvation Army Downtown Shelter 11/9/23

Today, the Austin City Council approved the purchase of the former Salvation Army Downtown Shelter located at 501 E. 8th Street. The purchase includes a retail storefront property located at 718 Red River Street and a surface parking lot located at 700 Red River Street.  

Since opening its doors in 1988, the former Salvation Army Downtown Shelter regularly maintained at least 130 shelter beds and served as one of the few shelter spaces in the downtown area for those experiencing homelessness. Earlier this year, however, The Salvation Army announced it would be closing the facility in March. The City worked with the nonprofit organization to keep the doors open until April 15 to allow time for clients to be relocated. In June, the City Council approved a 12-month lease agreement for the shelter, as well as a contract with Urban Alchemy to continue operations with capacity to serve 150 women, transgender and special needs individuals nightly. Today’s action by the City Council will allow for the long-term provision of services.  

“Today marks a milestone in our commitment to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring,” said David Gray, Interim Homeless Strategy Officer. “The acquisition of the former downtown Salvation Army shelter is not just adding beds, it’s also extending our arms to embrace those in need. Maintaining this shelter is a testament to our shared responsibility and commitment of building a city where no one is left without a home or hope." 

The purchase of this property will help fill the need for nearly 1,000 shelter beds for individuals experiencing homelessness by the end of 2025. The City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division presented information about this gap in beds to the City Council on July 18, 2023.  

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