The City and Salvation Army joined today to formally open the renovated and expanded Austin Shelter for Women and Children located at 4613 Tannehill Lane. The facility, operated by The Salvation Army, provides emergency shelter and a wide variety of services for women and children experiencing homelessness.
The renovation and expansion was a joint project between Austin's Public Health and Public Works departments. The facility is owned by Travis County and leased to the City of Austin. The Salvation Army has operated and managed the shelter program since 2001 with funding provided primarily by the City of Austin. Elected officials attending today’s event included Austin Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie and Austin City Council Member Ora Houston.
“For those experiencing family homelessness, the expanded shelter offers a safe, welcoming place for women and children, comprehensive services designed to link families to housing opportunities and a natural setting that promotes dignity and healing for those in crisis,” said Major Andrew Kelly, Salvation Army Austin Area Commander.
Designed by McKinney York Architects, the $6.5 million dollar construction project, funded in part by bond funds approved by voters in 2012, includes expanded sleeping quarters for 32-34 new residents, a larger reception area and lobby, and additional child care facilities to include infant care. Other infrastructure features incorporate increased parking, roof repairs, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) upgrades, improved lighting and a safe walking path.
The Salvation Army’s goal as operator of the program is to provide “wrap-around” services to women to ensure that homelessness is brief, rare and non-reoccurring. Special focus is directed to children’s services which include licensed child care, child/family therapy, a computer learning lab staffed by certified teachers, out of school time care in licensed community programs and transportation to local schools.
A short film shows the stories of two families and how they were able to move from homlesseness into safe housing and improved employment. The video illustrates the services of the shelter and support for women and children in crisis.