Archived Story

Future homeless shelter stalled

Published 11:17am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Salvation Army has paused plans to start a homeless shelter in Austin.

According to Austin Salvation Army’s Lt. David Amick, the greater Salvation Army decided about two months ago to not allocate funds for a homeless shelter in Austin. Amick said officials from Salvation Army want assurance that there will be long-term community backing. Though funding is not coming now, Amick said that doesn’t mean he and others will stop pushing for a shelter or other options to help homeless. Amick and Salvation Army officials had been researching options for a local homeless shelter for more than a year.

“We are going to find answers one way or another,” Amick said. “We are not going to have people sleeping out in the cold.”

Amick said he and others at the Salvation Army seriously considered purchasing the former Rizzi Law Office building near the fire department. The building would have offered 12 rooms for single men or women and three apartments for families.

Amick said the number of homeless people they serve in the fall and winter has remained consistent from last year, which can exceed 20 per month. The Salvation Army still houses those individuals at a local motel for as many as three days.

Now the organization is even considering opening its own doors to serve the homeless.

“Whether we have a big snowstorm or a big winter storm, we would actually open up our building and have different people down here who would be the caretakers,” Amick said.

Officials may want to see Amick, who has been here for a year, get a firmer grasp on the community’s homeless situation and ensure there will be support for funding, he added. In the meantime, Amick said, he will explore whatever options are available and may even pitch some different proposals.

“We’re not letting it go,” he said.

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