Austin Street Center, which has provided safe shelter for the homeless since 1983, is impacted with a unique challenge as thousands of Hurricane Harvey evacuees are arriving in Dallas. Austin Street is coordinating with the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management to offer assistance. Six local mental health organizations have asked Austin Street for flexibility with service times, as well as to be on call to address emergency mental health and substance abuse treatment needs in evacuation shelters. In addition, Austin Street has created new intake processes to ensure we accurately record an evacuee.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, emergency shelters like Austin Street continued to work with displaced victims for almost a decade. At that time, I worked in an emergency shelter 3,000 miles away from where Katrina hit, and that shelter was still serving victims seven years later.
As mentioned by “D Magazine” and “The Dallas Morning News,” Dallas homeless service organizations will serve Hurricane Harvey victims for years, as impoverished evacuees are at a greater risk for becoming homeless after temporary shelters close. In addition to supporting disaster relief organizations on the front lines, please remember the many other organizations that will continue to serve the victims for years to come.