Summertime is just around the corner! With more daylight and no school, you may be looking for ways to engage your family and friends in helping to support the men and women experiencing homelessness that Austin Street serves. We would love to have you volunteer! Check out some of the summer volunteer opportunities we have available:
GROUP FACILITIES MAINTENANCE
Get a group together for a morning of cleaning! With more than 400 people under our roof each night, we always need help keeping the shelter spic-and-span for our guests. From cleaning cots and beds to light painting or repairs that come up, extra hands make light work! This is a very practical opportunity, best suited for small groups and can include children ages 10 and up with adequate adult chaperones.
All of the meals we serve at Austin Street are prepared off site, delivered, and distributed by volunteers. Weekday lunches are our biggest need, and can easily be provided by a few families, a group of coworkers, or your extended network coming together. Especially in the summer, as our regular lunch providers travel or are unavailable, this is a great way to help! We can even send you cost-effective meal ideas to get you started.
Looking for something to keep your kids occupied at home? Consider making sandwiches or hosting donation drives for clothes and toiletries! Sandwich making parties are a great way to help us ensure our guests get adequate nutrition by providing breakfasts and lunches for folks who go to work during the day. And we can always use donations of gently used jeans, larger size men’s and women’s clothing, and new socks and underwear.
To learn more about how you, your family, or your workplace can get involved, please contact Lacy Montgomery, partnerships and community engagement manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humble Beginnings is always a highlight of the year for us at Austin Street. It’s a time when we focus on sharing stories of courage and overcoming—from our special guests, and from those we serve every night. This year, we focused on The Sisterhood program, sharing Irene’s story (video below), featuring photography created by members of The Sisterhood, and presenting Wesley Prep with this year’s Legacy Award for their Common Ground Experiment project writing poetry with the women in The Sisterhood.
We are so thankful to Norm Hitzges for hosting the event for us every year, Donovan Lewis for serving as our emcee, and Bob Lilly and Randy White for providing an incredible program!
Veterans experiencing homelessness face a unique set of challenges and opportunities for recovery. In partnership with Carry the Load, Austin Street’s veterans program offers individualized case management to help our nation’s heroes find their way home.
Jeff* was discharged from the Army in 1975, already showing signs of what would much later be diagnosed as schizophrenia. Unable to cope with his mental health difficulties, Jeff spent the next three decades homeless, moving from the streets to shelters to friends’ homes and back again. Each time he was hired for a job, he’d lose it a short while later.
Finally, Jeff made it to Austin Street Center, where he participated in computer literacy classes and took advantage of on-site mental health screening and treatment. After receiving the help he needed, Jeff was able to move into his very first apartment—ever—at age 60. Now he keeps up with treatment for his illness and enjoys the privacy and dignity of living in his very own home.
This past year, Austin Street hosted the first-ever Veteran’s Housing Fair in Dallas in partnership with more than a dozen local agencies. Marcus* had never been to Austin Street before, but he found out about the housing fair and knew he needed to make a change after living on the street. Now, he receives safe shelter and his basic needs, while he and his case manager work on his individual plan to end his homelessness and restore his relationship with his family.
On any given night in Dallas there are more than 300 veterans without a home, representing around 8% of the total homeless population. These men and women made sacrifices to keep us safe, and as a partner with Carry the Load, we are committed to ensuring that they have access to resources and the support they need to end their homelessness—permanently.