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.
Logan Ferguson, Austin Street Center’s Veterans Case Manager, received the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) Case Manager of the Year 2019 Award.
“As a case manager, it’s my job to empower our clients and provide the resources, but it’s up to them to make things happen,” said Logan. “It makes me proud when they are able to realize their full potential and work to end their homelessness.”
Logan has been a team member at Austin Street Center for three years. In addition to his commitment to clients, Logan also has a passion for networking and community leadership.
“When faced with a problem as big as homelessness, we can choose to feel powerless and overwhelmed, or we can believe we are part of something bigger and work together,” said Logan.
He meets weekly with Veterans Affairs when they are on campus to visit with clients, in addition to his work on the Veterans By-Name List (BNL) Committee. Logan also led Austin Street’s efforts in the 2019 Veterans Challenge, meeting multiple times with MDHA staff. His efforts resulted in a dozen clients being housed within the 90-day challenge.
“Logan has been a constant encouraging presence on our team,” said Dustin Perkins, Director of Client Services. “It has been reported that our community partners see Logan as the most consistent attendee of the BNL Committee, delivering an engaged and helpful presence multiple times monthly. He also volunteered to become the housing priority list expert at Austin Street Center, despite an already heavy load of demands in attending additional community meetings.”
This is the third year in a row that an Austin Street case manager has won the MDHA Case Manager of the Year Award.
The new Dallas Connector Project launched in October 2019 to provide free and regularly scheduled transportation to individuals experiencing homelessness. This project ensures that clients are able to easily access services to secure healthcare, employment, and housing.
In addition to a grant assistance from the City of Dallas, the Dallas Connector Project is a collaboration between CitySquare, Austin Street Center, Our Calling, The Stewpot/First Presbyterian Church-Dallas, and The Salvation Army. The project also has the support of The Bridge Homeless Outreach Center, and Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.
“We are proud to be part of the Dallas Connector Project,” said Daniel Roby, CEO of Austin Street Center. “Lack of affordable public transportation is a long-standing problem for the homeless. Many commute by walking from one agency to another, often traveling five miles or more daily; however, this is especially challenging or impossible for those who are physically disabled, medically ill, or have mental health and/or cognitive issues. Reliable and free transportation will end people’s homelessness sooner, as they will be able to access services much faster.”
The Dallas Connector Project will kick off its services with a 25-passenger bus and a 15-passenger van, and selected service facilities on the Connector route will post and distribute schedules with all materials in both English and Spanish to their clients.