About Austin Street Center

Our History and Purpose

Our Mission

Austin Street Center, with a heart for the people and a home for the homeless, exists to provide emergency shelter and related services to the homeless person in a compassionate faith-based community, and to provide “whole person” therapeutic programs so that the person in need might be better able to make responsible choices, positive changes and have economic self-sufficiency

Our History

For nearly 30 years, Austin Street Center has developed into a “whole person” therapeutic homeless community, evolving from a basic overnight emergency shelter facility (without air conditioning or cots!) to a full “Care Campus,” that today includes a transitional living facility for those with employment, substance abuse and psychological counseling, a free-standing chapel and an outdoor playground for our shelter kids.

Austin Street Center was created in 1983 when overcrowded mental health institutions left many individuals with no alternative but a life on the streets. The late Henry C. Beck Jr. and former Dallas Mayor Starke Taylor arranged to lease space at 723 South Austin Street in downtown Dallas near Reunion Arena for $1 per month. The shelter was moved to its current location, 2929 Hickory Street, in 1992. Rev. Father Jerry Hill was appointed the shelter's first Executive Drector. Rev. Hill was later succeeded by Rev. Fathers Bubba and Harry Dailey. 

Supported by volunteers from 120 Dallas-area churches and civic organizations, and funded entirely by individuals and foundations, Austin Street Center accepts no government funding from any level, and no United Way funding. Since its inception, Austin Street Center has provided shelter for an average of 400 men, women and children each night – uniquely, at no cost to the individual.

Because we neither solicit nor do we accept government funding from any level, all services are provided at no cost to Dallas County taxpayers. We are debt free.

Statement to Austin Street’s Durability and Longevity:

Debt Free: All program enhancements and facility improvements have been accomplished without debt.

Long Term Relationships: We have maintained volunteer relationships with area churches, synagogues, schools and civic organizations for nearly three decades. We are led by an impressive group of community leaders who serve on our Board of Trustees.

The involvement and devotion of these individuals and groups serves as an important metric of our success, knowing that people remain involved when the results of their time and talent have meaningful impact.

Board of Trustees

Chairman of the Board:
Mr. Dennis J. Grindinger

Mrs. Nancy Best

Mr. Harry M. Roberts, Jr.

Mr. Frank Mihalopoulos

Vice Presidents:
Kenneth Altshuler, M.D.
Mrs. Nell Beck
Mr. W. Plack Carr, Jr.
Mrs. Nancy Ann Hunt
Mr. Nicholas R. Jarke
Mr. G. C. Ledyard, Jr.
Mrs. Gail Turner