Austin Street Center’s Commitment to Community During COVID-19 Outbreak

March 13, 2020

Friends,

Over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that the world is facing an unprecedented challenge. Like you, we are deeply concerned and want to do what we can to help keep our communities and families safe and healthy. As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, I want to send a personal note to share our plan of action and reaffirm Austin Street Center’s commitment to keeping our staff, clients, volunteers, guests, and wider community safe.

From the onset of this situation, we have been in continuous communication with Dallas County’s Health & Human Services and Dallas City Mayor’s Office, while receiving additional guidance from Housing & Urban Development, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC); therefore, you can expect continuing communication as we receive new information.

We have implemented the following precautionary measures to help protect you and to help prevent the spread of infection:

  1. Continuous cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surface areas
  2. Increasing hand sanitizer locations.
  3. Educating and basic screening of clients upon intake
  4. Decreasing bed capacity and reconfiguring beds to increase spacing
  5. Decontamination process of HVAC systems
  6. Creating a new 5 tier Infectious Disease Prevention & Response Policy & Procedure, including decision support tools and cough alert process Additionally, in order to limit exposure at the shelter, we are canceling all group and individual volunteers activities through March 20th. Once we re-establish volunteer service, we ask our volunteers to consider their recent travel, age, and any potential underlying health conditions before signing up to volunteer.

If you are a meal service provider and would like to deliver food on your scheduled date, please contact Libby Card at Libby.Card@austinstreet.org or 214-295-9361.

Austin Street Center’s Humble Beginnings Luncheon on April 29 is currently being re-evaluated, and we expect updated information soon on a potential postponement plan.

We need your help! We are being asked to expect an increased demand for our services to feed the hungry, provide a safe and healing environment, and restore dignity for all those who need our assistance. During this time, we ask you to consider our request for financial and in-kind support for additional staffing needs, cleaning supplies, client assistance, and purchased meals for those churches and businesses who can no longer provide. Your support to our clients are critical, and we continue to be in awe of what you do for our community experiencing homelessness every day. For more information, go to https://www.austinstreet.org/give/donate/

We recognize this is a challenging time for all, and we remain deeply committed to the safety of our clients, staff, volunteers, guests, and our wider community. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and keep you apprised of any updates.

Please take care of yourselves and each other,

Daniel Roby
Chief Executive Officer
Austin Street Center

Preparing for a Potential Coronavirus Outbreak in North Texas

Anytime you look at an infectious disease in a community, people at the most risk are those who have experienced poverty.

Daniel Roby, CEO of Austin Street Center

Learn more about how Austin Street Center is working to minimize the risk of the coronavirus:

https://www.fox4news.com/news/homeless-centers-ready-for-potential-coronavirus-outbreak-in-north-texas

Former Client Gives Back to Help Others at Austin Street Center

Mr. K didn’t hesitate to become the primary caretaker for his mother when she needed it most. He juggled a lot for years as her caregiver—working to support himself and his mother, while also navigating the ups and downs of a sibling with an addiction.

He was not immune to the higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health effects that are common for caretakers. However, by the time his mother passed away, Mr. K had lost his job and savings. When the emotional and mental toll of being a caregiver caught up with him, it all became too much, and Mr. K  sought help in a mental health facility before becoming homeless. After spending months on the streets and in and out of other shelters, Mr. K came to Austin Street Center, where he began to restore his hope and independence.

Mr. K became a member of our Client Volunteer Program, which helped him gain marketable skills, further developing both technical and soft skills at Austin Street Center. Mr. K  utilized his maintenance work experience and quickly became the right-hand person to Austin Street Center’s Facilities Manager.  This program further enabled Mr. K to regain the confidence necessary to pursue full mental health treatment and search for employment.  Austin Street Center referred him to a partnering apartment complex that was hiring maintenance staff, and Mr. K was immediately employed and also received an on-site apartment with free rent and furniture.

“Austin Street Center is what you make of it,” said Mr. K. “They helped me get back to where I needed to be, and now I want to give back by helping other clients.”  Mr. K has since hired  other Austin Street Center clients on a temporary basis to help determine if they are a good fit. Just recently, Mr. K offered a full-time position to one of those temporary workers, which also includes a substantial discount on rent.

“Austin Street Center is very proud of Mr. K and thankful that he now partners with us to help others in need transition from homelessness to independence,” said Daniel Roby, CEO at Austin Street Center.