Serve With Us this Holiday Season!

Austin Street Center relies on thousands of volunteers to help us care for the most vulnerable members of our community.

WELCOME CENTER SUPPORT
We are always looking for energetic, friendly, and flexible volunteers to help provide excellent customer service at our Welcome Center! Volunteers in this position are the front line for assisting client services, directing visitors, and answering phones.

INTAKE
Intake volunteers welcome Austin Street guests by ensuring everyone gets checked in and assigned a bed for the night.

MAIL ROOM
Where do people experiencing homelessness get their mail? Austin Street guests are able to receive mail at the shelter—which means we have a huge amount of mail to sort and distribute every day.

CLOTHING ROOM
This is the busiest time of year for donations, and we need volunteers to help sort them! Keeping our clothing room organized is essential to ensuring we can meet the needs of our guests.

GROUP OPPORTUNITIES
If your school, business, church, or family is looking for a chance to volunteer we welcome you! Group volunteer projects vary but can include cleaning projects, sorting donations, or organizing drives for clothing, guest supplies or move out baskets.

We welcome you as a volunteer during the holiday season. Please sign up at: austinstreet.org/volunteer/individuals or contact Lacy Montgomery, Partnerships and Community Engagement Manager, at 214-428-0201 or lacy.montgomery@austinstreet.org.

Please know: all volunteers MUST be scheduled in advance, and the calendar does fill up!

Spiritual Support for the Most Vulnerable

Austin Street Center understands that beyond their basic needs, our guests are often deeply in need of spiritual support and guidance.

Through the generosity of two of our steadfast donors, Austin Street now has a full-time chaplain to meet the needs of our guests who seek spiritual refuge.. Felecia Burns is an ordained AME minister who previously volunteered to lead services in the Austin Street chapel.

Felecia became more aware of the difficulties in fighting homelessness last year when she was profiled by Verify on WFAA. She wanted to understand why there was a homeless encampment near her home. This question led her to the camp to talk to the folks living there and to City Hall to meet with her councilperson,, for insight on just how big and pervasive the problem is.

“I was able to see what this population had to deal with on a daily basis,” Felecia recalls.“I felt like God wanted me to be able to go deeper.”

Now, Felecia’s days are filled with offering hope, organizing prayer and Bible study meetings, and managing the volunteers who provide chapel services each week. She also encourages guests to lead songs, prayers, or share testimonies.

Her role as chaplain is to encourage and remind our guests that they are deeply loved by a God who knows them.

“One of the biggest problems facing people experiencing homelessness is a lack of community, a lack of deep relationships. If I can help facilitate people growing in their faith together, that’s a major step in helping restore what has been lost to the streets,” says Felecia.

In a recent prayer service held in our chapel, Felecia reminded the congregation, “in heaven there is no homelessness, in heaven there is no poverty, and in heaven there is no suffering.” A vision we can all support.

Watch Felecia’s journey to understanding the homeless problem.

From Hungry and Homeless to Housed

Dennis knows what it is to be hungry and homeless. He lived next to a dumpster for seven years before finding his way to Austin Street Center. Overwhelmed by most people and places, he carved out a little spot for himself away from the world and depended on scraps and handouts to survive.

As the holidays approach and we think about gathering with family and friends, let’s take a moment to learn more about hunger and homelessness in our community—and what you can do to help.

The 2017 Point in Time Count revealed that there are 3,789 homeless men, women, and children in Dallas County, their average age is 53 years. Austin Street Center is the only shelter in Dallas focusing on this older population.

Hunger and homelessness go hand in hand, which is why each year the week prior to Thanksgiving is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, organized by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. This week sheds light on those who are going without the basics of food and shelter.

Austin Street Center’s mission is to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness by providing safe shelter, meals, clothing, and more. Each year, we shelter more than 2,700 individuals and serve more than 250,000 meals. By providing these basic needs, we create a safe environment for men and women to begin to restore their lives. Men like Dennis. After Dennis became acclimated to Austin Street, he worked with a case manager to get him into his own apartment—where he is living now!

How can you help?

VOLUNTEER: Join our incredible team of volunteers who help with everything from meal service to daily intake to sorting and distributing clothing and hygiene items. Group and individual opportunities are available. More information and volunteer application available here.

GIVE: Our ability to respond to needs in our community relies on support from individuals like you. Help keep Austin Street running by contributing financially here.

DONATE: Organize a clothing drive! We are always in need of gently used men’s and women’s jeans, warm winter clothing and shoes, and new socks and underwear. Keep up with our current needs here.

ADVOCATE: This holiday season, consider sharing what you’ve learned with your friends and family and get them involved. Awareness is the first step to making a change. Be sure to like us on Facebook for the latest, and encourage your community to subscribe to our newsletter.

Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors—by ensuring they have what they need to begin the journey of ending their homeless experience.