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[00:00:02]

[Homelessness in Austin: What's Happening - Programs in Action]

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE CITY OF AUSTIN PANEL SERIES ON HOMELESSNESS.

MY NAME IS LAURA M FOSS, AND I'M THE HOMELESSNESS COMMUNICATIONS PRIORITY LEAD AND THE CITY OF AUSTIN COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE.

THE CITY OF AUSTIN IS HOSTING A SERIES OF THREE PANELS TO DISCUSS THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE ISSUE HERE IN OUR CITY TO HIS TOPIC IS WHAT'S HAPPENING PROGRAMS AND ACTION.

WE'LL BE JOINED BY LEADERS FROM ECHO THE OTHER ONE'S FOUNDATION, THE HOMELESS OUTREACH STREET TEAM AND THE OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY AND TODAY'S TOPIC.

TODAY'S PANEL WILL BE MODERATED BY JUDY MAZZEO OF AUSTIN PDS.

ON FRIDAY, WE'LL HOST OUR FINAL PANEL INNOVATIONS AND WHAT'S ON THE HORIZON FEATURING LEADERS FROM MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES FAMILY, ELDER CARE UT SCHOOL OF PHARMACY, AND THE CITY OF AUSTIN FRIDAY'S PANEL WILL BE MODERATED BY TAYLOR COOK AND THE DESIGN INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH, A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL AND THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN.

WE ALSO HOSTED A PANEL THIS PAST MONDAY, AND THAT TOPIC WAS UNDERSTANDING THE CRISIS AND HOW WE GOT HERE FEATURING LEADERS FROM AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFE, INTEGRAL CARE AND LIFE WORKS.

AND THAT PANEL WAS MODERATED BY CATHERINE FLOWERS FROM THE DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL.

YOU CAN ACCESS ALL OF THESE PANELS ON THE ATX AND ARCHIVE YOUTUBE AND ON THE EIGHTH AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV/HOMELESSNESS GET INVOLVED PAGE HOMELESSNESS IS A COMPLEX ADAPTIVE PROBLEM THAT TOUCHES EVERY MAJOR CITY IN TEXAS IN AUSTIN, EVERY DAY, COMMITTED INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS ARE DOING WORK TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS IN AUSTIN.

THIS RANGES FROM ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF THOSE EXPERIENCING CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS TO CREATING AND SUSTAINING PROGRAMS FOR PREVENTION AND DIVERSION.

WE'RE DELIGHTED THAT YOU'VE CHOSEN TO JOIN US TODAY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOMELESSNESS AND WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IN AUSTIN, AND TO LEARN ABOUT THE HARD WORK THAT'S BEING DONE TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGES FACING OUR COMMUNITY.

AT THIS TIME, I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE OUR MODERATOR FOR TODAY.

LONG TIME, HIGHLY RESPECTED JOURNALIST JUDY MAGGIO FROM AUSTIN, PBS.

JUDY, THANK YOU, LAURA.

WELCOME TO A VERY IMPORTANT OFTEN CONVERSATION ABOUT HOMELESSNESS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AS LAURA MENTIONED, THIS, THIS IS SECOND TO US, THREE PANELS EXPLORING HOW HOMELESSNESS HAS BECOME WHAT MANY PEOPLE CONSIDER A REAL CRISIS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND ALSO WE'RE LOOKING AT WORKING TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, SOME LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS FOR OUR FUTURE.

AS LAURA MENTIONED, IF YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO JOIN THE CITY OF BOSTON ON MONDAY FOR THAT DISCUSSION, YOU CAN ACCESS IT.

AND THAT'S EASY TO DO BY GOING TO AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV/HOMELESSNESS AND GET INVOLVED.

AND THERE YOU'LL FIND THE RECORDING OF THAT TALK TODAY.

OUR FOCUS IS ON SOME OF THE PROGRAMS ALREADY IN PLACE AND THE STRATEGIES IN PLACE THAT ARE ADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS RIGHT NOW IN AUSTIN, TEXAS, AND WE'RE FORTUNATE TO BE JOINED BY LEADERS.

SO SOME OF THE GROUPS THAT ARE ON THE GROUND DOING THE HARD WORK EVERY SINGLE DAY.

SO I WANT TO BEGIN BY ASKING EACH OF OUR PANELISTS TO INTRODUCE THEMSELVES.

THANKS, JUDY, MY NAME'S AMANDA AND I'M A FOOD POLICY ADVISOR WITH THE CITY OF AUSTIN'S OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY.

I WORK WITH THE CITY'S FOOD POLICY MANAGER TO HELP COORDINATE VARIOUS POLICIES, PROGRAMS, AND INITIATIVES THAT IMPACT OUR LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM.

BACK IN MARCH, WE WERE TAPPED TO LEAD THE FOOD ACCESS TASK FORCE FOR OUR CITY AND COUNTY'S EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER.

AND I'VE HAD THE HONOR TO HELP LAUNCH THE EATING APART TOGETHER INITIATIVE, WHICH WORKS WITH THE CITY COUNTY AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS TO GET SHELF STABLE AND PREPARED MEALS OUT TO PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, GLAD TO BE HERE TODAY.

GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE.

MY NAME IS BRIA WILLIAMS. I'M THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY HOUSING WITH ECHO THE INDIAN COMMUNITY HOMELESSNESS COALITION AND ECHO.

OUR CHARGE IS ESSENTIALLY TO LEAD THE COMMUNITY AND ITS HOMELESS RESPONSES.

AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS ADVOCATING TO FUNDERS, BOTH LOCAL STATE AND FEDERAL TO ALIGN RESOURCES.

SO WE'RE DEPLOYING DATA DRIVEN STRATEGIES ON THE GROUND TO END HOMELESSNESS, GLAD TO BE HERE.

MY, UH, HEY EVERYBODY.

MY NAME IS CHRIS BAKER.

I'M THE FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE OTHER ONE'S FOUNDATION.

UH, THE OTHER ONES FOUNDATION, UH, OFFERS PEOPLE THAT ARE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, OLIVER, EXTREMELY LOW BARRIER WORK OPPORTUNITIES,

[00:05:01]

UM, AID CASE MANAGEMENT AND HOUSING NAVIGATION SERVICES.

UH, AND WE ALSO ARE THE PRIMARY SERVICE PROVIDER AND SERVICE COORDINATOR FOR A, A 150 TO 200 RESIDENT STATE SANCTIONED HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT, UH, IN EAST AUSTIN CALLED, UH, CAMPUS BROWNSVILLE.

GLAD TO BE HERE.

HELLO EVERYONE.

MY NAME IS PATRICIA BERETTA.

UM, I'M A BUSINESS PROFIT CONSULTANT FOR THE HOMELESS OUTREACH STREET TEAM.

THE, UH, HOMELESS THAT RESTRAINT TIME PAIN IS A, IS A GROUP COMPRISED OF AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT EMS AND THE DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY COURT, AS WELL AS INTEGRAL CARE.

MY ROLE FOR THE TEAM IS TO HELP THE TEAM WITH BUILDING PROCESSES AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE GOING TO BE SUSTAINABLE, AND THAT WILL ALSO HELP SUPPORT THE TEAM IN THEIR WORK.

AND, UM, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE.

AS EVERYONE KNOWS PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, DON'T COME IN A ONE SIZE FITS ALL PACKAGE.

THIS IS A VERY NUANCED COMPLEX GROUP OF PEOPLE, VERY DIVERSE GROUP.

SO I'D LIKE TO BEGIN BY HAVING EACH OF YOU TALK ABOUT THE CLIENTS THAT YOU SERVE, THE WORK THAT YOU'RE DOING TO HELP THEM, AND I'LL START WITH AMANDA.

THANKS.

SO COVID-19 HAS IMPACTED US ALL.

UH, BUT FOR PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, THE STAY AT HOME ORDERS AND THE CLOSURES REALLY CUT OFF THAT ACCESS TO FOOD, WATER, UH, HYGIENE RESOURCES THAT THEY HAVE THAT FOLKS HAVE BECOME TO HAVE COME TO RELY ON.

THE HOPE WITH THE EAT INITIATIVE WAS TO GET CRITICAL FOOD OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY, USING EXISTING ASSETS AND RELATIONSHIPS, UM, OF A VARIETY OF ORGANIZATIONS WE'VE GOT, UM, ABOUT, I'D SAY OVER 15 ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE HELPING TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS.

SO WE ARE, UH, PROCURING FOOD AT THIS CITY FOR ABOUT 2000 SHELF, STABLE BAGS AND THOUSANDS OF ADDITIONAL PREPARED MEALS TO GO OUT EACH WEEK.

OUR STAFF AT THE PALMER EVENTS SETS SCENT, EXCUSE ME, PAWN MEYER EVENTS CENTER SPENDS, UH, THEIR DAYS HELPING TO PACK UP THESE BAGS, GET THEM IN BROWN BAGS, LINE UP THE TABLES AND ORGANIZE THE FOOD FOR THE PICKUP.

WE THEN HAVE, UH, COMMUNITY PARTNERS WHO COME IN WITH THEIR, THEIR TRUCKS AND THEIR CARS.

THEY FILL UP THEIR VEHICLES AND TAKE THESE MEALS OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY.

UM, BOTH TWO ENCAMPMENTS AT THE VERY FAR STRETCHES OF OUR CITY AND COUNTY, AND THEN ALSO SOME MEALS AND BAGS TO OUR, UM, DOWNTOWN PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

UH, AT THE BEGINNING OF OCTOBER, WE HIT A HUGE MILESTONE.

WE SERVE MORE THAN HALF A MILLION MEALS.

AND IN ADDITION TO THAT, WE HAVE GOTTEN OUT OVER 10,000 FACE COVERINGS, PALLETS OF PET FOOD OVER TWO 20,000 GALLON JUGS OF WATER AND EVEN MORE ADDITIONAL BOTTLES OF WATER.

AND, UM, JUST SOME OF THOSE RESOURCES THAT CAN BRING A LITTLE BIT OF STABILITY DURING THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES, WE KNOW THAT HUNGER HAS DEVASTATING IMPACTS ON WELL-BEING AND, UH, WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS ARE NO STRANGER TO HUNGER, BUT COVID-19 HAS REALLY EXACERBATED THIS ISSUE.

AND IT DOESN'T JUST TAKE A TOLL ON OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH, BUT ALSO OUR MENTAL HEALTH LACK OF FOOD, UH, IS HIGHLY CORRELATED WITH CHILD AND ADULT MENTAL HEALTH DIFF UH, DIFFICULTIES SUCH AS ANXIETY AND STRESS.

AND LONG-TERM, UH, ACTIVATION OF THOSE RESPONSE SYSTEMS CAN LEAD TO TOXIC STRESS, WHICH REALLY CAN ALTER THE SIZE AND STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN.

AND THE RESULT IS COMPROMISED MENTAL CAPACITY.

SO PEOPLE ARE FACING AN UPHILL BATTLE WHEN THEY'RE BOTH UNHOUSED AND HUNGRY.

THE HOPE WITH EAT IS THAT DURING THIS VERY DIFFICULT TIME FOR OUR COMMUNITY, WE CAN EXTEND A LITTLE LOVE AND SUPPORT AND THE SHAPE OF A BAG OF FOOD OR A PREPARED MEAL THAT CAN HELP PEOPLE RIDE THIS PANDEMIC OUT JUST TO SAFELY AS POSSIBLE AND PROVIDE A LITTLE BIT OF STABILITY, AS I SAID, AND HOPEFULLY MINIMIZE THEIR EXPOSURE TO THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 ANOTHER, UM, PERHAPS LESS EXPECTED OUTCOME OF EAT IS THE NEW PARTNERSHIPS AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT HAVE BEEN INITIATED AND FOSTERED.

DURING THIS TIME.

IT'S NOT ONLY OPENED THE DOOR FOR THE CITY TO DEEPEN PARTNERSHIPS WITH OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS, BUT IT'S REALLY FORGE NEW RELATIONSHIPS EVEN WITHIN THE CITY.

SO WE HAVE, UH, DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS THAT ARE COMING TOGETHER THAT ARE NOW,

[00:10:01]

UM, COLLABORATING AND REALLY UNDERSTANDING WHAT ROLE WE ALL PLAY, UM, TO COLLECTIVELY END HOMELESSNESS.

SO WE HAVE FOLKS FROM THE CONVENTION CENTER, UM, AND PALMER EVENTS CENTER, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH PARKS, AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT, PUBLIC LIBRARY, OUR COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE, OUR OFFICE OF INNOVATION WATERSHED PROTECTION.

AND AGAIN, I'M WITH OFFICES OF SUSTAINABILITY.

SO JUST LOTS OF FOLKS COMING TOGETHER TO HELP ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.

I TALK ABOUT WHAT ECHO'S ROLE IS ON THE BIG PICTURE, WHO YOUR PROGRAM SERVES AND, AND HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS? ABSOLUTELY.

JUDY SO, AND ECHO ARE OUR ROLE IS TO ESSENTIALLY SERVE EVERYONE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS IN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

AND, AND JUDY, I APPRECIATED YOU, YOU KNOW, CALLING OUT THE NUANCED DIFFERENCES IS THAT THE EXPERIENCE OF HOMELESSNESS IS UNIQUE TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL OR FAMILY EXPERIENCING IT.

AND SO AT ECHO, PART OF OUR ROLE THAT WE SEE IS FUNDING AND DEPLOYING PROGRAMS THAT CAN MEET THOSE UNIQUE NEEDS, RIGHT? SO WE'VE GOT YOUNG PEOPLE, 18 YEARS OLD WHO HAVE JUST EXITED THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM INTO HOMELESSNESS.

AND THEN WE ALSO HAVE 65 YEAR OLD VETERANS.

WHO'VE BEEN EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS FOR A LONG TIME.

AND IF WE ARE, IF WE ARE PERFORMING AS A SYSTEM, AS WE SHOULD, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE UNIQUE SOLUTIONS TO EACH OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS.

IT'S NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL SHOP.

AND THEN TO AMANDA'S POINT COVID-19 AND THE WORK AS A HOMELESS RESPONSE SYSTEM THAT WE HAVE TO DO SO THAT WE'RE READY AND PREPARED TO HELP PROTECT PEOPLE FROM THE VIRUS.

UM, I WILL SAY TO ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE PANEL, I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE IMPRESSED BY THE COMMUNITY COLLABORATION THAT WE'VE SEEN JUST FALL INTO ACTION IMMEDIATELY WHEN THE PANDEMIC HIT.

AND THAT ADDS ANOTHER LAYER TO THE WORK.

AND TO THAT INDIVIDUALIZED CONCERN IS HOW DO WE PROTECT THOSE THAT WE KNOW ARE MOST VULNERABLE TO NEGATIVE OUTCOMES FROM THE VIRUS.

UM, AND SO AGAIN, AT ECHO, WE SEE OUR ROLE AS CONVENING ALL OF THE PARTNERS THAT WE HAVE HERE, THE FUNDERS AND, AND IMPLEMENTING BEST STREP BEST PRACTICES THROUGHOUT THAT, SO THAT WE CAN MEET THE INDIVIDUAL NEEDS OF EVERY PERSON EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, YOU KNOW, CHRIS, THE OTHER ONE'S, FOUNDATION'S KIND OF A NEW KID ON THE BLOCK AND ALL OF THIS, BUT YOU'VE REALLY BEEN LAUDED ABOUT, BUT THE DIFFERENCE YOU'RE MAKING IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

SO TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR PROGRAM, WHO YOU'RE LIFTING UP AND, AND HOW YOU GUYS MEASURE SUCCESS.

YEAH, SURE.

UM, SO I WANT TO KIND OF GO BACK AND THAT FIRST QUESTION THAT YOU ASKED I FOUND WAS REALLY INTERESTING BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT, UM, THERE'S A, THERE'S A, THERE'S A BROAD CROSS-SECTION OF TYPES OF PEOPLE THAT FALL INTO HOMELESSNESS.

THERE'S THAT HOMELESSNESS ITSELF EXISTS ON THIS BIG BROAD SPECTRUM.

AND SO FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS THAT ARE HERE ON THE STREETS, WE SEE PEOPLE WHO COME INTO OUR PROGRAMS WHO HAVE JUST FALLEN INTO IT, YOU KNOW, THIS WEEK, AND JUST NEED A LITTLE BIT OF LIFT TO, UH, YOU KNOW, RAPIDLY GET BACK ON THEIR FEET, GET BACK INTO HOUSING.

UM, AND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SORT OF, OF THAT SPECTRUM, YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WHO AGED OUT OF FOSTER CARE, EXPERIENCED ABUSE THAT YOU AND I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES AND BASICALLY ENTERED ADULTHOOD.

AND THE FELONS OF HOMELESSNESS IMMEDIATELY BECOME CHRONICALLY HOMELESS LIVE ON THE STREETS FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS.

AND THESE OBVIOUSLY THERE'S DIFFERENT APPROACHES, RIGHT? AND THERE'S SO LIKE HAVING A SORT OF SPECTRUM OF CARE, SO TO SPEAK, YOU KNOW, IN THE, IN THE, IN THE HOMELESSNESS RESPONSE SYSTEM, YOU KNOW, THE CONTINUUM OF CARE IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

AND SO WE ARE REALLY FORTUNATE BECAUSE WE GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE PEOPLE FROM ALL ACROSS THAT SPECTRUM.

AND, UM, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE, UH, GONE OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY.

WE HAVE, WE HAVE A FLEET OF SEVEN SHOWER TRAILERS THAT GO OUT AND THOSE ACT AS LIKE SORT OF A HUB FOR, UH, PUSHING HUMANITARIAN AID OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY.

SO WHETHER THAT BE, UH, FOOD, UH, OBVIOUSLY HYGIENE PRODUCTS ARE A BIG PART OF THAT THERE'S STREET OUTREACH HAPPENING AROUND THAT.

UM, WE'VE JUST RECENTLY THIS WEEK HAD THE FIRST FULL DAY OF OPERATIONS OF OUR, UH, MEDICAL CLINIC AT, UH, CAMP ESPERANZA.

WE HAD, UH, FOLKS THAT HAD COME IN TO SEE, UH, THE, THE, THE AMAZING, UH, DR.

AUDREY KWONG, UH, AND THAT WAS THEIR FIRST TIME SEEING A DOCTOR FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS.

AND, UH, SO, SO THE, SO THE SORT OF LIKE THE BREAD AND BUTTER, I THINK WHAT WE'RE KNOWN FOR MOST IS A PROGRAM CALLED WORKFORCE FIRST, WHICH IS AN EXTREMELY LOW BARRIER IT'S IT OFFERS PEOPLE AN EXTREMELY LOW BARRIER OPPORTUNITY TO WORK COME AS YOU ARE.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE AN ID BROTHER.

YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE, HAVE SHOES, COME ON, GET IN, WE'RE GOING TO GO, AND WE'RE GOING TO GO AND MAKE SOME MONEY.

AND SO THAT PEOPLE CAN, UH, HAVE AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT OF SCRATCH TO COVER THEIR BASIC NEEDS.

[00:15:01]

UH, THAT THE, THE THING THAT, THAT I LOVE ABOUT THAT PROGRAM IS THAT WE, WE CONNECT EVERY PERSON THAT BECOMES EMPLOYED THROUGH THAT PROGRAM, TO THE CASE MANAGER.

THEY HAVE, THEY'RE WORKING WITH A WHOLE TEAM.

SO THERE'S A SUPPORTIVE EMPLOYMENT SPECIALIST WHO'S, UH, HELPING THEM, UH, HELPING TO SUPERVISE THEM ON THE JOB AND HELP NAVIGATE A JOB SEARCH.

THEY'VE GOT A CASE MANAGER, UM, WHO'S, WHO'S HELPING THEM KIND OF BREAK DOWN ALL THE BARRIERS THAT THEY MAY HAVE BUILT UP OVER THE YEARS THAT EXIST TO A STABLE HOME AND A STABLE INCOME.

AND, UH, UH, THEY, AND WE'VE GOT HOUSING NAVIGATION SUPPORT TO HELP KIND OF GET AN, GET, FIND A PLACE AND GET IN.

SO FOR ME, WE KNOW THAT NOT EVERYBODY WHO COMES INTO OUR PROGRAM IS GOING TO THEN EXIT OUR PROGRAM INTO A STABLE HOME AND A STABLE INCOME.

IT'S, IT'S, IT'S NOT REALISTIC TO THINK THAT WAY, BUT IF WE CAN GET PEOPLE TO THE POINT WHERE THEY'RE HOUSING READY, HOUSING READY, KIND OF, I DON'T THINK ANYBODY REALLY LOVES THAT TERM, BUT TO THE POINT WHERE THEY'RE, THEY HAVE THE THINGS THEY NEED IN ORDER TO APPLY FOR HOUSING, APPLY FOR JOBS.

SO LIKE IN SOME CASES, UH, IT'S, IT'S, WE, WE WOULD CONSIDER SOMEBODY AS SUCCESS IF THEY COME IN AND THEY'VE GOT NOTHING AND THEY LEAVE WITH A DRIVER'S LICENSE, THAT'S A GREAT FIRST STEP, YOU KNOW, OR, AND THEN THERE ARE, THERE ARE OTHER STORIES WHERE PEOPLE COME IN AND THEY, YOU KNOW, WE, THEY WORK WITH US FOR A COUPLE MONTHS.

AND THROUGH WORKING WITH CASE MANAGEMENT, THEY'RE ABLE TO RECONNECT WITH THEIR FAMILY, LIKE IN NEBRASKA OR WHATEVER.

AND WE, AND WE HELP TO LIKE FACILITATE A DIALOGUE WITH FAMILIES.

SO THAT'S ANOTHER, YOU KNOW, DIVERTING PEOPLE TO, TO A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN GO WHERE THEY CAN REALLY GO HOME.

RIGHT.

AND THEN GETTING, AND THEN OF COURSE, LIKE THE BIG GOLDEN TICKET IS GETTING, GETTING PEOPLE INTO HOUSING, WHICH, UM, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY WE WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH ECHO ON THE COORDINATED ENTRY SYSTEM TO HELP MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

UM, AND, UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK AT THE END OF THE DAY, BECAUSE A LOT OF OUR PROGRAMMING ISN'T NECESSARILY DESIGNED WITH HOUSING AS, BECAUSE A LOT OF IT'S HUMANITARIAN AID.

WHAT I LIKE TO SAY IS THAT THE, WHAT, HOW, WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE FOR THE OTHER ONE'S FOUNDATION IS EASING THE SUFFERING OF PEOPLE.

AND, UM, I'M GLAD TO REPORT THAT.

I FEEL THAT WE'VE, THAT WE, WE DO THAT IN SPADES DAY IN AND DAY OUT.

THAT'S A VERY VITAL MEASURE OF SUCCESS, AND WE ALL APPRECIATE THE WORK YOU'RE DOING.

AND THE, THE FOLKS WHO ARE A PART OF THE HOST TEAM, THE HOMELESS OUTREACH STREET TEAM ALIKE, AND PATRICIA, YOU ARE ON THE GROUND EVERY SINGLE DAY, WORKING WITH HOMELESS PEOPLE ON THE STREETS.

AND I DON'T THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT YOU GUYS ARE OUT THERE DOING THE NITTY-GRITTY WORK.

SO TALK ABOUT THE WORK YOU'RE DOING, WHO, WHO YOU'RE SEEING ON THE STREETS, UH, PEOPLE WHO ARE UNSHELTERED AND, AND HAVING YOU GUYS MEASURE SUCCESS, PATRICIA.

SO WHAT THE HOPE TEAM DOES IS THEY'RE TESTIFYING COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE HOMELESSNESS AND MEET THEM WHERE THEY'RE AT, WHETHER IT'S UNDER A BRIDGE, OH, WE LOST YOU FOR A MINUTE THERE, PATRICIA.

OH, THERE YOU GO.

WE CAN HEAR YOU NOW.

PERFECT.

SO, UH, IN TERMS OF, I STARTED WITH, UM, HOPELESS TASK TO FIND A COMMUTER MEMBER STARTED EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, LEARN THEIR CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS AND HELP THEM CONNECT TO SERVICES THAT THEY NEED NOW.

UM, WHAT SUCCESS WOULD LOOK LIKE IS IT VERY MUCH DEPENDS ON WHAT THAT PERSON NEEDS.

IF THAT PERSON'S ASKING FOR HELP WITH AN ID, WE'LL HAVE, UM, ONCE WE GET, IF WE CAN GET THAT ID THAT'S SUCCESS, IT'S WHATEVER THAT THE PERSON IS DRIVING, THE PERSON WHO'S EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS IS DRIVING THE SERVICES.

AND SO THE, THE HOST TEAM WILL MAKE THE PERSON LEARN WHAT THEY, WHAT THEY NEED, AND THEY DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP AND BUILD TRUST WITH THAT PERSON.

SO ANY, ANY TIME THAT THE TEAM IS ABLE TO HAVE A PERSON COME TO THEM AND THEY'RE ABLE TO AT LEAST GET TO KNOW THEM A LITTLE BIT BETTER, I BELIEVE THAT THAT IS, THAT IS SUCCESS FOR THEM BECAUSE THE ULTIMATE GAME, I'M SORRY, ARE YOU ON CAMERA? DOES YOUR CAMERA ON, UM, I GUESS IT'S NOT TRY AGAIN.

SORRY.

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR SHINING FACE AS YOU TELL US GOING OUT ON THE STREETS EVERY DAY.

HOPEFULLY WE'LL GET TO SEE YOU ON CAMERA TOO.

PERFECT.

WELL, HOPEFULLY THAT THING, SORRY ABOUT THE TECHNICAL ISSUES.

UM, OKAY.

THIS IS, THIS IS WHAT OUR VIRTUAL WORLD IS ALL ABOUT.

THE WORK YOU'RE DOING ON THE STREETS EVERY DAY IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT SEEING YOU ON CAMERA.

SO GO AHEAD AND KEEP TELLING US ABOUT IT.

SURE.

THE EFFECT THAT THEY'RE SEEING OUT IN THE STREETS OR THE FOLKS WHO ARE, UM, THEY'VE BEEN OUT THERE FOR A WHILE, SOME OF THE FOLKS THAT WE'VE SEEN OR HAVE BEEN OUT THERE 10, 15 YEARS, THIS WAS THE CHRONICALLY HOMELESS, AND THEY'RE THE FOLKS WHO'VE BEEN WHO'VE, UM, NOT QUITE HAVE, BUT MAY HAVE ALREADY GIVEN UP ON THE SYSTEM SINCE THEY'VE

[00:20:01]

BEEN PROMISED MANY TIMES THAT THEY'LL GET HELP.

AND SOMETHING HAPPENS THOUGH, EITHER WITH FUNDING OR AN APPOINTMENT MISSED SOMETHING DOESN'T FALL, IF EVERYTHING FALLS THROUGH.

AND SO IT'S KIND OF HARD FOR THEM TO, TO TRUST AGAIN.

AND SO THE TEAM BUILDING THAT TRUST AGAIN WITH THAT PERSON, ESPECIALLY IN THE TIME OF COVID, UH, SPEAKING OF OUR TECHNICAL WORLD AT THIS POINT, UM, THE TEAM HAS HAD BUILT THAT TRUST WITH THE FOLKS OUT THERE, AND THEY WERE ABLE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAD THE EDUCATION THAT THEY NEEDED FROM AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, OF COURSE, AS WELL AS KNOW WHERE, ON WHERE TO GET FOOD AND WORKING WITH THE EAD INITIATIVE AND MAKING SURE THAT FOLKS HAVE WHAT THEY NEED.

AND THEY WOULD EXACTLY WHAT THAT PERSON NEEDS.

SO WHETHER THEY WERE AN ENCAMPMENT AND THEY NEEDED A GALLON BE DOWNTOWN AND THEY NEEDED THE BOTTLES WA A BOTTLE OF WATER, THEY WERE ABLE TO GET DOWN.

THEY KNEW THE FOLKS OUT THERE SO WELL THAT THEY WERE ABLE TO LIKE TAILOR WHAT THE NEEDS WERE.

AND SO FOR THE COVID ITSELF OR THE EFFORTS THAT THAT HOST TEAM HAS BEEN MAKING HAS BEEN MAKING SURE THAT EVERYBODY HAS THE LATEST INFORMATION, FOOD, WATER, AND THE SERVICES THAT CAN HELP WITH, WITH AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH HAS SOMETHING WITH THE HAND SANITIZERS, WITH MASKS, AS WELL AS ANY SORT OF INFORMATION, ESPECIALLY WITH THE POLL LODGES.

THE TEAM HELPED IDENTIFY FOLKS WHO ARE HIGHER RISK.

ALTHOUGH EVERYONE, WE ALL AGREE, EVERYONE WHO'S LIVING ON THE STREETS, PRETTY HIGH RISK, BUT, UM, THEY PICKED, THEY WENT IN, UH, WE'RE ABLE TO HELP IDENTIFY THE HIGHER RISK FOLKS TO HELP OUT WITH THE PROLOGUE EFFORTS.

AND, UH, SO SORRY, THE TECHNICAL, THE TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES ARE KIND OF GOT ME OFF TRAIL HERE.

THAT'S OKAY.

WE, WE UNDERSTAND, WELL, MAYBE, MAYBE YOU KIND OF WORK ON, ON THE CAMERA.

WE'LL, WE'LL GO TO THE NEXT PANELIST AND YOU CAN WORK ON YOUR CAMERA OR HEAR ANY FINE.

UM, BUT WE'RE SEEING IT IN KIND OF A WEIRD LIGHT SHOW BACKGROUND FOR YOUR, FOR YOUR VIDEOS, BUT IT'S, IT'S LIVE, IT'S VIRTUAL.

WE COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND, UM, I KNOW THE COMPUTER BEHIND THERE, THE CAMERA.

WELL, UM, I'M GONNA, I'M GONNA SWITCH OVER TO DEBRIS BECAUSE I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE CITY OF BOSTON'S APPROACH TO ENDING HOMELESSNESS.

AND THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN, OR AT LEAST THE PAST 10 YEARS OR SO, IT'S BEEN HOUSING FIRST TALK ABOUT THAT STRATEGY.

UM, HOW HAS THE CITY SUCCESSFULLY OR NOT SO SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING IT AND, AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE, UH, HELPS AND HINDRANCES YOU'RE SEEING ACHIEVING THAT HOUSING FIRST GOAL? YEAH, SURE.

SO I THINK WE CAN START WITH WHAT HOUSING FIRST MEANS, OR MAYBE I'LL PREFACE AND SAY WHAT HOUSING FIRST MEANS TO ME.

I THINK THAT THIS CAN BE A PRETTY DEEPLY PERSONAL CONVERSATION FOR A LOT OF FOLKS AND I THINK IT SHOULD BE.

SO I THINK THAT'S QUITE ALL RIGHT.

UM, HOUSING FIRST IS ESSENTIALLY THE PHILOSOPHY THAT'S CENTERED IN THE BELIEF THAT HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT, THAT EVERYONE IS, IS DESERVES ACCESS TO HOUSING.

UM, THERE'S NO WORTHINESS OR VALUE COMPONENT TO IT THAT WE'RE ALL HUMAN BEINGS AND WE DESERVE A SAFE PLACE TO CALL HOME AND SORT OF TO AMANDA'S POINT.

WE ALSO DESERVE THE ABILITY TO ACCESS HEALTHY FOOD ON A REGULAR BASIS.

UM, AND SO WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT HOUSING FIRST? UM, IT CAN BE A LITTLE HARD TO CONCEPTUALIZE THE WAY I LIKE TO DESCRIBE IT IS ALIGNING EVERY DOLLAR THAT'S GOING INTO OUR, EVERY STAFF PERSON THAT'S WORKING AS A PART OF OUR SYSTEM, EVERY ADVOCATE THAT THEY ARE COMPLETELY GROUNDED IN THE BELIEF THAT HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT, AND THAT WE'RE CONSTANTLY WORKING TOWARDS A SYSTEM THAT ANYONE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS CAN BE IMMEDIATELY OFFERED ACCESS TO HOUSING WITHOUT ANY PRECONDITIONS ATTACHED.

I MEAN, TO CHRIS'S POINT, IF, IF THAT PERSON DOESN'T HAVE A STATE ID, IF THEY DON'T HAVE SHOES, IF THEY DON'T HAVE DISH TOWELS, UM, YOU KNOW, IF THEY'RE NOT READY TO ENGAGE IN, IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE OR PHYSICAL HEALTH CARE THAT THERE'S NO STRINGS ATTACHED TO THAT OFFER OF HOUSING BECAUSE, AND AMANDA HAS SPOKE TO IT MUCH MORE ELOQUENTLY THAN I COULD.

BUT WHEN ANYONE IS IN THAT SEVERE CRISIS STATE OF NOT HAVING THEIR BASIC NEEDS MET, YOU CAN'T MAKE ANY PROGRESSION IN LIFE, OR I SHOULDN'T SAY ANY, BUT YOU'RE GOING TO REALLY BE CHALLENGED.

SO, YOU KNOW, ONCE WE'RE OFFERING FOLKS HOUSING, THEN WHAT DO THEY NEED? DO THEY NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR? DO THEY NEED TO SEE A MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER OR DO THEY NEED TO HAVE THAT CONVERSATION FACILITATED? THEY CAN RECONNECT WITH THEIR FAMILY.

UM, AS FAR AS, AS A COMMUNITY, I'M REALLY PROUD OF, OF THE, OF INVESTMENT AND ALIGNMENT THAT WE'VE MADE IN HOUSING FIRST.

AND I'M ALSO VERY AWARE THAT WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO.

UM, SO WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO HELP IS, AGAIN, THAT CONSTANT PRESSURE AND ADVOCACY

[00:25:01]

THAT EVERY DOLLAR IN OUR COMMUNITY IS ALIGNED WITH THAT PHILOSOPHY AND THAT WE'RE FUNDING PROGRAMS THAT ARE GROUNDED IN THAT BELIEF.

AND I THINK AS FAR AS WHAT HINDERS THAT I DO, I BELIEVE IT'S, IT'S A LACK OF EDUCATION AND AWARENESS.

I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF MISCONCEPTIONS AND MYTHS AND IN OUR COMMUNITY AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY OF WHAT HOMELESSNESS IS AND WHAT IT MEANS.

UM, AND THE TRUTH IS THAT IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THERE'S A, A REFLECTION OF FOLKS AS NOT HAVING BEING WORTHY OR HAVING DONE SOMETHING TO DESERVE THE EXPERIENCE OF HOMELESSNESS.

I MEAN, THAT'S JUST BEYOND AND HUMANE IN MY OPINION.

SO I THINK AS A COMMUNITY, WHICH IS WHY I'M GRATEFUL THAT WE'RE SHARING THIS TIME TOGETHER TODAY, THESE TYPES OF SPACES ARE WHAT MATTER IS LIKE, HOW DO WE GET THAT WORD OUT? HOW DO WE, YOU KNOW, HAVE A PLATFORM WHERE FOLKS CAN SHARE EXPERIENCES? HOW DO WE HEAR FROM FOLKS WITH LIVED EXPERTISE? YOU KNOW, THAT'S REALLY THE VOICE THAT NEEDS TO BE FRONT AND CENTER IS WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS? WHAT HELP DO YOU NEED, YOU KNOW, TO GET OUT OF THAT SITUATION? SO, UM, BUT LIKE I SAID, HOUSING FIRST, I WOULD SAY, AND I THINK IT SHOULD BE A VERY DEEPLY PERSONAL, UM, CONVERSATION.

AND YES, THERE IS A WAY TO REFLECT THAT IN POLICY AND WE NEED TO BE PUSHING FOR THAT.

AND WE ALSO NEED TO KIND OF HAVE HONEST CONVERSATIONS WITH OURSELVES ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS, SO THAT WE'RE CONSTANTLY PUSHING THAT NARRATIVE FORWARD.

I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT COVIN AND THE IMPACT ON THE HOMELESSNESS SITUATION IN OUR CITY, BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW THAT COVID HAS MAGNIFIED SO MANY ASPECTS OF OUR COMMUNITY FOOD INSECURITY.

AMANDA CAN TALK ABOUT THAT, BUT I WANT TO SWITCH OVER TO CHRIS FOR A MOMENT BECAUSE YOU'RE, YOU'RE, YOU'RE WORKING INDIVIDUALLY WITH SO MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE UNSHELTERED IN OUR COMMUNITY, PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

WHAT IS YOUR GROUP LEARNING RIGHT NOW ABOUT THE IMPACT OF COVID ON UNEMPLOYMENT, ON, ON HOUSING, UH, AMONG THIS POPULATION, CHRIS? YEAH.

SO I THINK THAT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE COVID-19 CRISIS, AS IT RELATES TO HOMELESSNESS, I THINK A GOOD PLACE TO ALWAYS START IS WE ARE AS A COMMUNITY, AS A CITY, AS A STATE, AS A COUNTRY, AS THE WHOLE WORLD EXPERIENCING A CRISIS TOGETHER.

AND MANY OF US, UH, ARE EXPERIENCING A KIND OF A TRUE CRISIS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR LIVES, IN THIS, THIS CHRIST.

AND MAYBE IT'S NOT THE FIRST CRISIS, BUT IT IS A CRISIS OF, UH, OF, UH, OF THE MAGNITUDE THAT IT IS AT LEAST EQUIVALENT TO MOST OF THE OTHER SORT OF HARDSHIPS THAT WE FACE IN LIFE.

RIGHT? THE EXPERIENCE OF HOMELESSNESS IS A CONSTANT CRISIS.

THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE AS A CRISIS, THE, FROM, FROM WAKING UP TO FINDING A PLACE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, TO, UH, UH, FINDING A PLACE, UH, TO, TO GET FOOD, TO EAT, TO, UH, FIGURING OUT WHERE THE NEXT BUCK IS GOING TO COME FROM.

UH, SOMEBODY STOLE MY THING.

I, MY, MY STUFF GOT RIPPED UP.

THE COPS CAME ALONG AND HASSLED US.

THE WHOLE THING IS JUST LIKE, SORT OF, IT'S A LIFE OF CRISIS.

AND SO, SO I THINK THAT WE HAVE A VERY, VERY RESILIENT GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT WE WORK WITH.

AND, UM, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT, UH, BREE AND ECHO DESERVE, UH, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF, UH, GRATITUDE FOR ALL THE WORK THAT THEY'VE DONE TO GET THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ON THE STREETS, INTO SOME OF THESE FACILITIES FOR PEOPLE TO ISOLATE AND FOR PEOPLE TO TRY TO BE ABLE TO HEAL, UM, FROM THE, FROM THE DIRECT EFFECTS OF COVID-19.

BUT, UM, YOU KNOW, I, I THINK THAT IN TERMS OF HOW THIS REFLECTS ON EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING IS A VERY, VERY, VERY BIG PICTURE QUESTION THAT GOES WAY BEYOND HOMELESSNESS.

AND, BUT, BUT REALLY TOUCHES HOMELESSNESS IN A BIG WAY.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE HYPER HYPER COMMODIFICATION OF HOUSING.

UM, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS, IS GENERALLY, UH, IT, IT HOLDS IT'S SOMEWHAT HOUSING IS, IS, IS NOT ONLY IT'S, IT'S NOT VIEWED BY OUR SOCIETY AS A HUMAN, RIGHT.

IT'S, IT'S, IT'S VIEWED AS A GLUE TO HOLD OUR ECONOMY TOGETHER, RIGHT? LIKE WE SAW IN 2008 WITH THE MORTGAGE CRISIS, THIS IS THE HYPER COMMODIFICATION OF HOUSING, EVEN MORE THAN HEALTHCARE.

AND, AND WE ARE VERY NERVOUS ABOUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT THE PROTECTIONS THAT NEEDS TO BE IN PLACE TO KEEP PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY FOR THEM ARE, UH, ECONOMICALLY OR POLITICALLY VIABLE.

RIGHT.

AND I, I, WE ARE ALL, I THINK, WHO WORK IN THIS FIELD, DEFINITELY AFRAID OF WHAT IS TO COME, UH, WITH THE INFLUX THAT WE'RE EXPECTING OF, UH, UH, OF, OF PEOPLE

[00:30:01]

INTO HOMELESSNESS.

UH, AND SO, UH, AND, AND, YOU KNOW, OF COURSE EMPLOYMENT TIES INTO ALL THIS.

WE, WE HAVE ALWAYS SEEN, YOU KNOW, LOOK WHAT OUR, WHAT OUR WORKERS DO IS THEY MOSTLY GO OUT THAT THEY PICK UP TRASH, THEY DO INVASIVE SPECIES REMOVAL, THEY DO SUBSIDIZE HOUSING IMPROVEMENTS.

I THINK IN THE NORMAL WORLD, YOU WOULDN'T NECESSARILY CONSIDER THAT STUFF SUPER ESSENTIAL, BUT IN OUR CASE, BECAUSE THE MONEY THAT THE PEOPLE ARE MAKING IS THE ONLY THING THAT THEY'RE MAKING, THAT'S ABLE TO HELP THEM SURVIVE.

UM, WE'VE KIND OF CONSIDERED THIS ESSENTIAL, UH, FROM THE START AND WE HAVEN'T, WE NEVER STOPPED.

OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE TO PUT A LOT OF PROTECTIONS IN PLACE, UH, TO PROTECT OUR, OUR, UH, OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS THAT WE SERVE AS WELL AS OUR STAFF.

UM, BUT YEAH, I THINK IT'S, I THINK THE, THE HOUSING, THE HOUSING THING, I'M VERY NERVOUS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN LOSE THEIR HOUSING, UM, AS THE, AS A RESULT OF THE ECONOMIC FALLOUT FROM, FROM COVID.

AND CAN I, IS IT OKAY? CAN I, CAN I TAKE ONE MORE SECOND? CAUSE I WANNA, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT WHAT BRIA SAID FOR A SECOND TOO, BECAUSE I, I LOVE THE WAY THAT, THAT YOU TALK ABOUT HOUSING FIRST AS, UM, YOU KNOW, VIEWING HOUSING AS, AS A HUMAN, RIGHT.

AND, AND I THINK LIKE, SORT OF, YOU KNOW, A MORE MAYBE LIKE TECHNICAL SORT OF LOOK AT IT AS THAT WE'RE NOT PUTTING, WE'RE PUTTING AS FEW BARRIERS AS WE CAN UP TO GET SOMEBODY INTO SOME SORT OF HOUSING UNIT.

I THINK THAT THE, THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE, AND I THINK THEY MAY BE LED BY A LOT OF WHAT BREE WAS TALKING ABOUT, ABOUT PEOPLE, NOT UNDERSTANDING SORT OF THE NATURE OF HOMELESSNESS AND ITS CAUSES AND, AND SORT OF THE ROOT ISSUES BEHIND THAT.

BUT I THINK THAT REALLY PRIMARY, THE, THE PRIMARY ISSUE IS THAT WE HAVE A LACK OF HOUSING STOCK THAT'S AVAILABLE TO THE HOMELESS RESPONSE SYSTEM.

AND THE IDEA OF HOUSING FIRST IS GREAT.

BUT LIKE I SAID BEFORE, WHEN I SAID, WE WANT TO GET PEOPLE HOUSING READY, AND THEN SORT OF SAID, WELL, THAT'S KIND OF A BAD WORD.

THE PROBLEM, I THINK THAT WE, THAT WE FACE IS, IS MORE THAT WE HAVE A, UH, A HOMELESSNESS RESPONSE SYSTEM THAT SORT OF MO WHERE THE IDEA MAY BE HOUSING FIRST, BUT IN THE REAL WORLD ON THE GROUND, HOUSING TENDS TO BE THE END GOAL OF PROGRAMS RATHER THAN THE FIRST THING THAT HAPPENS WITH A PERSON WHO WE, WHO WE'RE TRYING TO LIFT UP OFF THE STREETS.

RIGHT.

AND IT'S THIS LONG DRAWN OUT PROCESS.

AND SO I LIKE TO THINK ABOUT, I LIKE TO PUSH PEOPLE TO IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE WE GET BACK TO A PLACE WHERE PUBLIC HOUSING IS A, IT'S JUST SOMETHING THAT WE DO, RIGHT.

IT'S LIKE BUILDING ROADS.

YOU NEVER HEAR OF LIKE PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? SO LIKE, SO THIS WOULD JUST BE A THING THAT WE HAVE FOR PEOPLE AND IT'S GOING TO BE EXPENSIVE.

AND THIS WHOLE IDEA THAT THERE'S SOME WAY FOR THE PRIVATE MARKET, FOR PEOPLE, FOR DEVELOPERS TO MAKE MONEY, WE NEED TO GET PAST THAT.

WE NEED TO MAKE THE BIG INVESTMENTS THAT ARE NEEDED TO BUILD THE HOUSING STOCK.

THAT IT'S GOOD, THAT'S GOING TO BE AVAILABLE TO THESE SYSTEMS. AND I THINK THAT THE IDEA, I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THIS IDEA, THAT GETTING TO A POINT WHERE THERE IS STABLE HOMES FOR EVERYBODY IS MORE, IT WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE, MORE CONVOLUTED, MORE COMPLICATED THAN ALL OF THESE SYSTEMS THAT WE HAVE SPRUNG UP IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES TO RESPOND TO HOMELESSNESS.

I CAN'T, I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT.

AND SO I WOULD, SO MY, MY SORT OF MY, MY COMPANY LINE RIGHT NOW IS LET ME GO AND BE A SHADE TREE MECHANIC AND, AND PLAY GUITAR AND, AND NOT HAVE TO DO THIS ANYMORE.

LET'S JUST BUILD THE HOUSING, YOU KNOW, AND, AND ORGANIZATIONS LIKE MINE, WHAT WE CAN DO IS BE ABOUT HEALING, RIGHT? AND THERE'S THIS IDEA OF HOUSELESSNESS, AS OPPOSED TO HOMELESSNESS, YOU HEAR THIS A LOT FROM PEOPLE WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE.

UM, THIS HOUSE PIECE DOESN'T NECESSARILY MAKE SOMEONE NOT HOMELESS, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE MANY OF THE UNITS THAT WERE KIND OF THAT PEOPLE WIND UP IN, I WOULD, I WOULD, UH, I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD BE OFFENDED TO CALL THOSE HOMES, BUT ALSO BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH TRAUMA AND THERE IS, SO THERE'S SUCH A HISTORY OF DIFFICULTIES IN THE HEARTS MINDS AND INSIDE THE BODIES OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS THAT ARE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

NOW THAT LET'S MAKE HOUSING, THE FIRST PART, AND THEN LET'S MAKE THIS WORK THAT WE DO ABOUT HEALING AND ABOUT BECOMING HOME FULL ABOUT BECOMING HOUSED FIRST AND THEN BECOMING HOMEFUL OVER TIME AND BUILD COMMUNITY, BUILD, BUILD, BUILD COMMUNITY, AND DO IT

[00:35:01]

WITH LOVE.

AND, AND JUST, AND WE NEED TO JUST OPEN OUR HEARTS TO THIS WHOLE IDEA THAT PEOPLE HAVE.

THIS IS, THERE'S NO BLAME HERE.

THERE'S NO BLAME.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, THIS WHOLE IDEA OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ALL THAT FINE, BUT THE PEOPLE WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN THIS SITUATION DESERVE BETTER FROM THE REST OF US.

CHRIS, I THINK YOU HAVE EVERY ADVOCATE FOR PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS OUT THERE, APPLAUDING WHAT YOU JUST SAID.

I THINK THAT YOU'VE GOTTEN TO THE VERY CORE OF IT, AND I KNOW ALAN GRAHAM ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT, UM, GIVING PEOPLE THAT SENSE OF COMMUNITY.

SO, SO LET ME SEGUE INTO THAT.

HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS FOR PEOPLE TO FEEL A SENSE OF COMMUNITY TO FIND THE HELP THAT THEY NEED? HOW IMPORTANT IS PROVIDING THAT STRUCTURE FOR THEM PERMANENTLY LIFTING THEM, OR AT LEAST TEMPORARILY LIFTING THEM OUT OF A HOMELESS WHO WANTS TO TALK ABOUT THAT SENSE OF COMMUNITY THAT I THINK ALL OF YOUR GROUPS ARE, ARE TRYING TO BUILD IN, IN YOUR OWN UNIQUE WAYS? WELL, WE, I, I REFER TO EVERYONE ON MY STAFF AS A COMMUNITY BUILDER FIRST.

THAT'S WHY WE HAVE THESE, THESE DECERTS.

UM, I THINK THAT MY OPINION IS THAT BUILDING COMMUNITY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS IS THAT WE CAN GET OUR FRIENDS TOGETHER IN GROUPS THAT ARE TOXIC.

UM, A LOT OF THESE, YOU KNOW, AND I THINK PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS SEARCHING FOR COMMUNITY.

SO WHETHER THEY'RE SEARCHING FOR IT UNDER A BRIDGE OR OUTSIDE THE ARCH OR ON STREET CORNERS OR IN THIS CAMP OR ON A WORK CREW, RIGHT, THERE'S, THERE'S, THERE'S SOME, THERE'S, SOME OF THESE COMMUNITIES ARE PRETTY TOXIC, BUT IF WE CAN GET PEOPLE TOGETHER DOING SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE THAT SERVES THE COMMUNITY, UM, THIS IS, THIS I THINK IS WHAT THE REAL MEAT AND POTATOES OF WHAT ALL THE OTHER ONES FOUNDATION, UH, PROGRAMMING IS ABOUT IS, IS GETTING PEOPLE OUT OF TOXIC COMMUNITIES AND INTO COMMUNITIES THAT THEY CAN CARE ABOUT.

AND THAT CARE ABOUT THEM HAVING A, A SENSE OF FELLOWSHIP IS I THINK SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE LOSE ALONG THE WAY WHILE THEY'RE LIVING IN THAT CRISIS STATE THAT I TALKED ABOUT BEFORE, AND IT'S SO IMPORTANT, UM, THIS WHOLE IDEA OF HOLISTIC HOLISTIC HEALING, WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE'S PHYSICAL HEALTH, THEIR MENTAL HEALTH, AND THESE ARE, THESE THINGS ARE FINE AND GOOD, BUT WHAT'S HAPPENING INSIDE SOMEONE'S HEART IS, UM, IS JUST AS IT'S JUST AS IMPORTANT AND HAVING A SENSE OF VALUE AND A SENSE OF PLACE, UM, I THINK IS VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO QUANTIFY.

UM, BUT IS A THING THAT TRULY AFFECTS LONG-TERM, UH, HOUSING, UH, STABILITY OUTCOMES.

AND AMANDA, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EATING APART TOGETHER, TO ME THAT THAT IS ALSO BUILDING A, A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AT THAT INTERSECTION OF, OF HOMELESSNESS AND HUNGER, BECAUSE I DON'T THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE CONSIDER HOW CLOSELY THOSE TWO ARE TIED TOGETHER.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

I MEAN, YEAH, THERE ARE SO MANY, UM, INTERSECTIONS AND ALSO SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE WAY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE HUNGER AND THE WAY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS EARLIER, UM, PANELISTS WERE TALKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, HOW HOMELESSNESS IS EXPERIENCED ON A SPECTRUM.

AND THAT'S VERY MUCH THE CASE WITH HUNGER AS WELL.

IT'S NOT JUST THAT YOU DON'T HAVE ANY FOOD, UM, IT'S THAT YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUALITY OR QUANTITY OF FOOD THAT YOU NEED TO REALLY LIVE THE LIFE THAT YOU'RE LOOKING TO LIVE.

UM, I THINK, YOU KNOW, HOUSING INSECURITY VERY SIMILAR, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE JUST PAYCHECKS AWAY FROM, UH, NOT HAVING THEIR HOME.

AND, AND CHRIS WAS TALKING ABOUT, UM, YOU KNOW, WHAT, THIS IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE KIND OF THE LONGER TERM IMPACTS OF THIS COVID PANDEMIC AND, UM, LOST WAGES.

AND WE ARE SEEING, SO BOY ENTER INTO FOOD INSECURITY.

AND UNFORTUNATELY I THINK MORE PEOPLE ENTERING INTO HOMELESSNESS ARE GETTING EVICTED, LOSING THEIR HOME.

UM, SO YEAH, I MEAN, THESE, THESE SYSTEMS ARE TIED AND I THINK HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS ALSO HAVE THIS THING IN COMMON WHERE PEOPLE TEND TO PEOPLE IF NOT ON THIS PANEL.

UH, BUT YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE, THEY TEND TO THINK OF IT AS A PERSONAL TROUBLE OR A PERSONAL ISSUE, OR THAT BEHAVIOR THAT FLED THEM TO THERE RATHER THAN THINKING OF THE SYSTEMIC PROBLEM OR THE STRUCTURAL ISSUE THAT MAY BE, YOU KNOW, AT PLAY.

I MEAN, YOU CAN JUST LOOK AT THE SIGNIFICANT RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN EXPERIENCES

[00:40:01]

FOR BOTH HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS.

UM, AT A RECENT URBAN INSTITUTE BRIEFING THAT SAID, YOU KNOW, LATIN X AND BLACK ADULTS ARE REPORTING FOOD INSECURITY IN SEPTEMBER RATES, NEARLY DOUBLE THAT OF WHITE ADULTS.

AND THAT IS CONSISTENT ACROSS THE DATA COLLECTION PERIODS AND AUSTIN BLACK PEOPLE REPRESENT OVER 30% OF OUR HOMELESS POPULATION, BUT ONLY 8% OF THE AUSTIN TRAVIS COUNTY POPULATION.

SO AS WE THINK ABOUT COMMUNITY, UM, I THINK INSTEAD OF THINKING HOW THE HUNGRY PERSON OR THE HOMELESS PERSON IS FAILING A SYSTEM, IT MAY BE HELPFUL FOR US AS A COMMUNITY TO CONSIDER HOW OUR SYSTEMS ARE FAILING THAT PERSON.

AND THESE ISSUES ARE, YOU KNOW, VERY MUCH LINKED AND FOR A PERSON TO SUCCEED IN LIFE.

WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE INTERSECTION OF NOT ONLY HOUSING AND HUNGER, BUT HEALTH, UM, AND, AND SEE HOW WE CAN BOLSTER ALL OF THOSE SYSTEMS. AND, AND THE WAY TO DO THAT IS THROUGH A COMMUNITY, YOUR RESPONSE, PATRICIA, I KNOW THAT WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SEE YOU, AND I KNOW YOU'RE HAVING SOME ISSUES, BUT I DO WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT HOW THE HOST TEAM IS, IS CHANGING.

WHAT'S POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE CHRONICALLY HOMELESS.

UM, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THIS IS THERE.

THIS IS A LIFESTYLE FOR THEM, THE CHRONICALLY HOMELESS, AND WE ALL WANT TO LIFT THEM OUT OF THAT, BUT, BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE GROUND AS HOST TEAM MEMBERS TO, TO CHANGE WHAT'S POSSIBLE FOR THESE FOLKS? WELL, FOR THE MOST PART, THE TEAM IS OUT THERE BUILDING THAT RELATIONSHIP, BUILDING, BEING, BECOMING PART OF THEIR COMMUNITY, AND ALSO MAKING SURE THAT THEY'RE ABLE TO PROVIDE ANY SERVICES THAT'S POSSIBLE.

SO THOSE, THE TIMO, SOME OF THE TEAM MEMBERS WILL BE ABLE TO DO COORDINATED ASSESSMENTS.

SO WE'LL BE ABLE TO DO HELP SOMEBODY RENEW THEIR MAP CARDS.

SO HELP THEM GET INTO MEDICAL CARE AS WELL AS MENTAL HEALTH CARE.

AND FOR THE MOST PART, THEY'RE TRYING TO SUPPORT WHAT THEY'RE DOING OUT ON THE STREETS, SO THAT THEY'RE ESSENTIALLY THE FOLKS THAT ARE OUT THERE.

THEY'RE JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE.

AND NO MATTER WHAT WE DO AS AN OUTREACH TEAM, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO GET THEM TO THRIVE.

SO WE'RE JUST HELPING THEM SURVIVE AND HELP THEM INCREMENTALLY GET CLOSER TO WHERE THEY CAN GET HOUSING, WHERE THEY WANT, IF IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GET HOUSING, THEN WE CAN HELP THEM GET INTO THAT POINT WHERE EITHER THE VAS OR THE COORDINATED ASSESSMENT OR THROUGH OTHER MEANS WHETHER IT'S THROUGH THE PUBLIC HOUSING.

UM, BUT WITH THE BIGGER ISSUES OF LIVING ON THE STREETS, NOT EASY AND THEY'RE SURVIVING AND THE SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON WHO THEY PLACE THEIR TRUST IN.

AND SO THE TEAM COMING IN TO HELP DOESN'T NECESSARILY BECOME LIKE YOU JUST GOING INTO AN ENCAMPMENT.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW ANYBODY, AND IF YOU HAVEN'T MADE THE TIME TO MAKE IT A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANYBODY, THEN YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO MUCH HELP.

YOU'RE NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING WITH THE FOLKS BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT GOING TO TRUST YOU.

AND SO BEING ABLE TO HAVE THAT RELATIONSHIP AND BUILD THAT TRUST WITH THE FOLKS THAT ARE LIVING OUT ON THE STREETS, LIVING IN ENCAMPMENTS, THEN MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THE FOLKS THAT ARE, ARE EXPERIENCING THIS, TO GET SOME SERVICES AND GET TO THE PLACE WHERE THEY NEED TO GET.

AND THE BIGGER ISSUE IS FOR THEM.

AND IF THEY CAN GET INTO HOUSING, THEY SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN INTO SOONER, I GUESS, UM, IN ANY CASE, UH, WELL, SORRY, I DON'T MEAN THAT'S BASICALLY WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS THAT THE TEAM GOES OUT THERE, THEY BUILD THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH THAT PERSON AND THEY FIND OUT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THAT PERSON.

THEY'RE NOT OUT THERE TO TELL THEM WHAT TO DO.

THEY'RE NOT TRYING TO BE AN AUTHORITARIAN FOR THEM OR ANY SORT OF, UM, MORAL AUTHORITY FOR THEM.

IT'S MORE OF LIKE, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS PERSON? WHAT DO THEY NEED TODAY? WHAT DO THEY NEED TOMORROW? WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP YOU SURVIVE TODAY? AND WITH THE BIGGER GOAL, OF COURSE, IN THE HOUSING, IF WE CAN GET THEM INTO HOUSING, THEY DO.

AND THEY HAVE, BUT OF COURSE OUR RESOURCES ARE LIMITED JUST IN, THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE, OUR ENTIRE SYSTEM.

AND OUR SYSTEM'S KIND OF COMPLEX AS WELL ON TOP OF THAT.

UM, AND SO ESSENTIALLY THEY MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THE FOLKS OUT THERE TO HAVE SOME HOPE.

I THINK THAT THE HOMELESS POPULATION IN AUSTIN HAS BECOME VISIBLE FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT REASONS.

AND I ALSO THINK THERE'S A MYTH OUT THERE THAT I'VE HEARD MY FRIENDS SAY.

AND I'D LIKE FOR YOU GUYS TO ADDRESS THIS, THIS ART DISPEL, THIS MESS, UM, WHICH I THINK IS MORE THAN LIKELY A MYTH.

AND THAT IS THAT PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BE HOMELESS.

LIKE THIS IS, THIS IS A LIFESTYLE THEY CHOOSE.

WHO WANTS TO TALK ABOUT THAT? I'M HAPPY TO TALK BRIEFLY.

I'M SURE.

[00:45:01]

CHRIS ALSO HAS SOME THOUGHTS.

UM, I, AND I'LL JUST SPEAK FOR MYSELF ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF DOING THIS WORK IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR OVER 10 YEARS.

AND I STILL HAVEN'T MET ANYBODY WHO DOESN'T WANT ACCESS TO SAFE AND STABLE HOUSING.

UM, I THINK THAT THIS IS KIND OF, TO ME WHERE EMPATHY COMES IN AND, YOU KNOW, I, I KIND OF PUT MYSELF THROUGH THIS, THIS PROCESS SOMETIMES OF LIKE, WHAT, WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE TO, TO NOT SEE A PATHWAY OUT, RIGHT? LIKE YOU YOU'VE, YOU'VE LOST ALL CONNECTIVITY TO ANY COMMUNITY THAT IS SUPPORTED BY NO FAULT.

YOU KNOW, THIS IS JUST THE SITUATION YOU'VE ENDED UP IN.

UM, AND IT STARTS TO FEEL REALLY HOPELESS.

AND I THINK PATRICIA ACQUAINTED REALLY WELL, SO MUCH OF THE HOST TEAM'S POWER IS IN BECOMING A PART OF A COMMUNITY AND BUILDING TRUST AND RELATIONSHIP.

AND, AND THAT'S SO CHALLENGING WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN REALLY JUST COMPLETELY ABANDONED BY SYSTEM, AFTER SYSTEM IN OUR COMMUNITY AND HAVE GOTTEN TO WHAT IS SORT OF THE, KIND OF THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL.

AND SO I THINK THAT, UM, IT'S ABOUT TRUST AND IT'S ABOUT PRODUCING AND, AND REALLY SHOWING PEOPLE THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE THERE WITH THEM AND YOU'RE GOING TO SHOW UP WITH THEM.

UM, BUT, UH, I CAN AT LEAST SAY FOR MYSELF, I HAVE YET TO MEET SOMEBODY, UM, WHO DIDN'T WANT ACCESS TO SAFE AND STABLE HOUSING, WHO ELSE WANTS TO JUMP IN ON, ON DISPELLING THE MYTH THAT PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BE HOMELESS.

SO I, UH, I I'M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU BREE.

I HAVE STILL NOT MET THAT PERSON WHO, UH, AND, UH, UH, HOUSING OPPORTUNITY COMES ALONG AND THE GOVERNMENT, NO THINGS.

UM, I WILL SAY THIS AND I, AND I, AND I DON'T WANT TO SOUND LIKE TOO MUCH OF A BROKEN RECORD, BUT, UM, I THINK THAT THE KEY WORD THERE IS SAFE AND STABLE HOUSING, UM, BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT THE, THIS SORT OF SYSTEM IS DESIGNED, UM, IN TERMS OF HOW WE QUANTIFY HOUSING OUTCOMES.

UM, AND I HAVE MANY COLLEAGUES OUT THERE WHO I LOVE VERY MUCH, AND I, AND I HOPE I DON'T HURT ANYBODY'S FEELINGS BY SAYING THIS, BUT WE WIND UP WITH A SYSTEM THAT SUCCESS IS DEPENDS UPON WAREHOUSING PEOPLE IN VERY SUBSTANDARD HOUSING.

SO I HAVE HAD PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN LIVING IN THE WOODS, UH, GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE THEY WERE, UH, YOU KNOW, THEY, THEY'D KIND OF BEATEN THEIR SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER.

AND THEY HAD SORT OF STABILIZED IN A, IN A PLACE WHERE THEY WERE LIVING IN A TENT AWAY FROM PEOPLE.

AND THEN THEY WENT INTO AN APARTMENT WHERE THEY'RE ON A FLOOR OF AN APARTMENT BUILDING WHERE IT'S THEM, THE WATER DOESN'T TASTE GOOD.

NONE OF THE APPLIANCES WORK.

EVERY OTHER APARTMENT ON THIS FLOOR IS A TRAP HOUSE.

AND THAT IS A PERSON WHO SAYS THIS ISN'T GOING TO WORK FOR ME AND GOES BACK TO THE STREETS.

AND SO THIS IS, SO THE IDEA THAT PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BE HOMELESS IS I THINK, YOU KNOW, THIS IDEA OF LIKE, WELL, PEOPLE JUST WANT TO BE HOMELESS.

THEY DON'T WANT THE RESPONSIBILITY.

I MEAN, THAT'S, EXCUSE ME.

UH, NOT TRUE.

UM, BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, IS THAT SOMETIMES THE ALTERNATIVES THAT WE, AS A SYSTEM COME TO OFFER PEOPLE, WIND UP BEING WORSE.

WE HAVE THIS WORD THAT WE USE TO DESCRIBE SOMEBODY WHO'S EXPERIENCING LITERAL HOMELESSNESS IS THIS PHRASE THAT SAYS SOMEONE IS LIVING IN A PLACE THAT'S NOT MEANT FOR HUMAN HABITATION.

AND I WOULD STRONGLY ARGUE THAT A LOT OF THE, A LOT OF THE HOUSING STOCK THAT THE SYSTEM HAS ITS HANDS ON ARE PLACES THAT ARE NOT, MAYBE THEY WERE MET.

THEY WERE AT ONE TIME MAYBE WERE MEANT FOR HUMAN HABITATION, BUT ARE, ARE NOT, UM, THAT THAT HUMANS SHOULD NOT BE, UM, INHABITING RIGHT NOW.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, THIS GOES BACK TO THE, THIS GOES BACK TO LIKE THE, THE, THE HOUSING, THE INVESTMENTS THAT WE NEED TO MAKE IN HOUSING, HOW MUCH, HOW WE NEED TO GET BACK TO PRE 1980S LEVELS OF INVESTMENTS IN PUBLIC HOUSING, THE HOUSING NEEDS TO BE SAFE.

IT NEEDS TO BE STABLE, UM, AND IT, AND IT NEEDS, UH, WE NEED TO GET AWAY FROM, UH, COMMODIFYING IT FOR EVERYONE.

AND IF I CAN JUST JUMP IN FOR A SECOND BUILDING OFF OF THAT, I THINK, YOU KNOW, GOING BACK TO WHAT BRI WAS SAYING EARLIER ABOUT, UM, TALKING TO FOLKS WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE TO BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY WANT.

YOU KNOW, I THINK CENTERING THE VOICES OF THOSE WHO ARE IMPACTED WHEN WE'RE COMING UP, WHEN WE'RE REBUILDING THESE SYSTEMS, WHEN WE'RE LOOKING AT, UM, WHAT OUR HOMELESS RESPONSE, UH, DOES FOR FOLKS.

AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK THERE ARE EXAMPLES OF THAT HAPPENING OUT THERE.

I DON'T HAVE, UM, NEAR THE LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE OF SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THIS CALL WITH, WITH WORKING ON THE FRONT LINES WITH PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

BUT WHEN I DID GO OUT TO COMMUNITY FIRST, YOU KNOW,

[00:50:01]

I WENT OUT WITH A SUSTAINABILITY OFFICE AND WE, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE FIRST QUESTIONS WE ASKED WAS IN ALONE HOUSES AND NOT, YOU KNOW, UH, MORE EFFICIENT OR, UM, MULTIFAMILY HOUSING.

YOU COULD, YOU COULD DO IT FOR CHEAPER.

IT COULD BE MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT, YOU KNOW, ALL THE THINGS THAT WERE KIND OF COMING WITH WITH OUR SUSTAINABILITY LENS AND, UM, ALAN GRAHAM AND THE OTHER FOLKS OUT THERE THAT WERE GIVING US THE TOUR, YOU KNOW, REALLY BROKE IT DOWN AND SAID, A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO SHARE, WANT TO SHARE, YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO SHARE WALLS, YOU KNOW, AS MANY OF US DON'T WANT TO SHARE WALLS WITH PEOPLE.

AND SO I THINK, YOU KNOW, DESIGNING OUR HOUSING SOLUTIONS AND THE SYSTEMS THAT ARE SERVING FOLKS AS THEY'RE TRANSITIONING INTO HOUSING IS, UM, WOULD BE WELL-SERVED.

AND I THINK WOULD SET PEOPLE UP FOR GREATER SUCCESS AT COMMUNITY.

FIRST VILLAGE IS SUCH A, SUCH A WONDERFUL MODEL.

WE WISH WE COULD REPLICATE IT IN MANY DIFFERENT PLACES.

SO I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE NEED FOR MAYBE DIFFERENT SYSTEMS OR PARTNERSHIPS IN A HOMELESS RESPONSE, YOU KNOW, WHERE ARE WE GOING FROM HERE? BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT THIS PROBLEM IS GOING TO GET WORSE BECAUSE OF COVID.

SO, SO WHAT ARE SOME SYSTEMS, OR WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO MORE OF IN THESE SYSTEMS THAT ARE HOMELESS RESPONSE? AND DO YOU THINK PARTNERSHIPS, UH, COULD, UM, BUILD A BIGGER AND MORE ROBUST RESPONSE? BRI, DO YOU WANT TO THAT ONE SINCE, SINCE YOUR GROUP IS KIND OF THE UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION? YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

SO I THINK WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING AT, UM, SYSTEM PARTNERSHIP AND I ACTUALLY REALLY LOVED THAT YOU PHRASED IT THAT WAY.

SO ONE OF THE REALLY BIG COMMUNITY PRIORITIES RIGHT NOW, AND I THINK THAT THE NEED FOR THIS IS HIGHLIGHTED EVEN MORE WITH THE COVID RESPONSE IS HOW DO WE IDENTIFY FOLKS BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY ENTER IN LITERAL HOMELESSNESS AND SAFELY DIVERT THEM FROM THAT EXPERIENCE? SO TO ME, THAT'S DEEP PARTNERSHIPS WITH, YOU KNOW, OUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, UM, WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, WITH OUR SCHOOL DISTRICTS, BOTH LIKE, YOU KNOW, SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN.

AND THEN ALSO LIKE OUR, UM, UPPER LEVEL SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

AND HOW DO WE HAVE SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO IDENTIFY FOLKS THAT ARE GOING TO BE VULNERABLE, UH, FALLING INTO LITERAL HOMELESSNESS, UM, AND STOP THAT FROM HAPPENING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

AND I THINK WITH THE INTENDING EVICTION CRISIS, THAT WE'VE ALL BEEN ALLUDING TO A LITTLE BIT, UH, THE NEED FOR THAT IS EVEN GREATER.

UM, WE, WE JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE ABOUT TO SEE.

THIS IS TRUE OF AUSTIN.

THIS IS TRUE OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE ABOUT TO SEE.

AND, AND OUR FEAR IS THAT THE, IF WE DON'T GET A SYSTEM IN PLACE TO IDENTIFY FOLKS THAT ARE VULNERABLE TO HOMELESSNESS, WHAT WE COULD SEE IS MANY, MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED HOMELESSNESS IN THEIR LIFE AND NEVER IN THEIR GENERATIONAL LIFE EXPERIENCING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME.

AND THAT IS JUST, THAT'S SOMETHING WE CAN'T ALLOW TO HAPPEN.

IT'S JUST NOT, IT CAN'T BE AN OPTION THAT WE HAVE IN FRONT OF US.

SO THAT IS BUILDING THOSE TIGHT SYSTEMS SO THAT WE CAN IDENTIFY THOSE FOLKS AND DIVERT THEM FROM THAT IMMEDIATELY.

WE'RE GOING TO OUR CALL TO ACTION, WANT TO WEIGH IN ON, ON PARTNERSHIPS AND DIFFERENT APPROACHES IN THE SYSTEM TO ADDRESS WHAT WE THINK COULD BE A GROWING ISSUE WITH HOMELESSNESS IN AUSTIN.

I MEAN, I THINK THAT THE PARTNER, THAT THERE'S A, THERE'S A, THERE'S A, THERE'S SORT OF A STAKEHOLDER IN THESE PARTNERSHIPS THAT OFTEN KIND OF GET FORGOTTEN ABOUT IN THESE CONVERSATIONS.

THAT'S THE FAITH BASED COMMUNITY.

SO, UH, CHURCHES, MOSQUES, SYNAGOGUES, UM, I THINK ARE ALWAYS GETTING IN TOUCH WITH US, LOOKING FOR WAYS TO HELP.

AND SO THIS, I SEE LIKE SORT OF THE, THE THREE, THE THREE SORT OF PILLARS THAT REALLY NEEDS TO WORK TOGETHER TO, TO, TO REALLY LINK THIS ISSUE, UH, IS THE NONPROFIT SECTOR, THE PUBLIC SECTOR, AND, UH, THE FAITH BASED COMMUNITIES, UM, UH, WORKING, WORKING TOGETHER TO, UH, INVEST IN, IN HOUSING.

WE DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME LEFT.

I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE DO A CALL TO ACTION, BECAUSE I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WATCHING TODAY WHO CARE ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND WOULD LIKE TO DO SOMETHING AS INDIVIDUALS TO ADDRESS IT IN THEIR OWN LIVES AND IN IMPROVING THE SITUATION IN OUR COMMUNITY.

SO THE FIRST TIME, NO, WE CAN'T SEE YOU, BUT I'M GOING TO START WITH YOU.

COULD YOU GIVE THE FOLKS WATCHING A CALL TO ACTION AND WHAT THEY CAN DO TO HELP MAKE A LASTING CHANGE AND ADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS AT AUSTIN? WE, UH, I, I BELIEVE ADVOCATING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS GOING TO BE REALLY IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY NOW THAT WHAT WE AND PENDING EVICTIONS ARE GOING TO BE HAPPENING, FOLKS ARE GOING TO GET EVICTED.

THOSE APARTMENTS ARE GOING TO GO MUCH HIGHER IN THE NEXT, FOR THE NEXT LEASING.

SO IF WE LET THAT HAPPEN AND NOT WORRY ABOUT IT, IT JUST BECOMES A CYCLE WHERE THE PERSON WHO GETS EVICTED, CAN'T GET BACK INTO THEIR APARTMENT.

AND THEN NOW THEY'RE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS AND HOPEFULLY NOT BELONG, BUT IF WE DON'T HAVE THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, THEN IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT WE DO.

IF WE CAN'T GET IT, IF WE CAN'T GET PEOPLE INTO HOMES THAT THEY COULD SUSTAIN

[00:55:01]

THAT RENT AND SUSTAIN THEIR LIVES THERE, I WOULD DEFINITELY ASK IF ANYBODY HAS OPPORTUNITIES TO ADVOCATE FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING, PLEASE DO.

SO AMANDA, WHAT'S YOUR CALL TO ACTION TODAY? YEAH, I MEAN, I GUESS STARTING WITH THE VERY PERSONAL, I THINK JUST EXTENDING KINDNESS AND ACKNOWLEDGING THE HUMANITY OF FOLKS THAT YOU ENCOUNTER, UM, ON THE STREETS, YOU KNOW, ANY TIME YOU CAN DO SO IN A SAFE WAY.

UM, I THINK THAT WHAT I'VE HEARD FROM SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED HOMELESSNESS IS THAT, YOU KNOW, JUST BEING STRIPPED OF THAT, UM, DIGNITY OF BEING A PERSON THAT SOMEBODY CAN MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH IS, IS REALLY, UM, DIFFICULT AND, AND ADDS TO THE STRESSES.

SO, YOU KNOW, IT'S, IT'S SOMETHING YOU CAN DO WITH THE WINDOWS ROLLED UP IN A COVID SAFE WAY.

UM, AND OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, BEYOND THAT, WHEN, WHEN WE ARE ABLE TO, UM, BE IN MORE CONTACT WITH PEOPLE, AND THEN I THINK FINDING AN ORGANIZATION OR MUTUAL AID NETWORK WHOSE MISSION AND VALUES YOU ALIGN WITH AND GIVE THEM YOUR TIME OR YOUR MONEY OR SUPPLIES, WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO GIVE TO HELP THEM OUT.

AND THEN, YOU KNOW, JUST ECHO WHAT PATRICIA WAS SAYING OF, UM, WORKING ON ADVOCACY FOR POLICIES THAT, UM, YOU KNOW, WE'LL, WE'LL SUPPORT PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR ALL, IF YOU ARE ABLE TO DO SO.

GREAT.

GREAT.

YEAH, I THINK I LOVE EVERYTHING EVERYBODY JUST SAID, ESPECIALLY AROUND THE HUMAN ASPECT AND I ENCOURAGE THAT.

UM, AND, AND ALSO TO BE QUITE FRANK, UM, ADVOCATE, WE ALL NEED TO BE ENGAGING WITH OUR ELECTED, TO BEING ON THE CITY LEVEL, THE COUNTY LEVEL, THE STATE LEVEL, THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

UM, THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO SHY AWAY FROM MAKING IT CLEAR WHAT WE VALUE AS A COMMUNITY.

UM, AND YOU KNOW, IF, IF YOU WANT TO SEE RIGHT, A COMMUNITY'S PRIORITIES LOOK AT THE BUDGET.

AND SO, AND WHAT ARE WE, WHAT ARE WE VALUING IN OUR BUDGET? AND WHERE ARE WE PRIORITIZING OUR DOLLARS AND, AND DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO PUSH THAT MONEY INTO SERVING THE MOST VULNERABLE FOLKS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, AND I THINK AGAIN WITH THE IMPENDING CRISIS EVICTION CRISIS, LIKE THERE'S JUST, THIS IS NOT TIME TO SHY AWAY FROM BEING A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY.

WE NEED FOLKS TO BE COMPLETELY INVESTED.

UM, AND I LOVE EVERYTHING AMANDA JUST SAID.

AND I THINK HAVING AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT KINDNESS, YOU KNOW, AND DON'T BE AFRAID TO SAY HI TO PEOPLE AND GET TO KNOW FOLKS AND LEARN PEOPLE'S NAMES AND, AND, AND BECOME COMMUNITY IT'S, YOU KNOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS.

THEY'RE JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ON THIS CALL.

SO, UM, BUT YEAH, I'D SAY PICK UP THE PHONE, MAKE PHONE CALLS, SEND EMAILS TO YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU EXPECT TO SEE AS FAR AS POLICIES THAT ARE PUSHING FORWARD.

I DON'T CHRIS, YOUR CALL TO ACTION TODAY.

YEAH.

SO I, I LOVE WHAT EVERYBODY'S SAYING, THIS, UH, IDEA OF CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE.

UM, IF YOU PULL UP TOWARDS SOMEBODY TO BE ON THE SIDEWALK AND THEY'RE FLYING A SIGN, UM, AND YOU DON'T HAVE A BUCK ON YOU, DON'T ROLL UP THE WINDOW AND LOOK THE OTHER WAY.

IT LOOKS SOMEBODY IN THE EYES AND SAY, HELLO, IT'S, UH, IT'S A, IT'S A, IT'S A GOOD START.

IT'S A GOOD START.

UH, HUMANIZING PEOPLE IS A GOOD START.

NOT ONLY FOR THEM, BUT FOR YOU.

I WANT EVERYBODY TO GO DO THAT FOR A WEEK AND GET TO KNOW SOMEBODY'S NAME AND GET TO KNOW OLD BILL WHO, YOU KNOW, FLIES A SIGN AT THE CORNER STORE DOWN THE STREET FROM YOU.

AND I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER EVERY NIGHT IN THIS RICHEST COUNTRY ON THE PLANET, THERE ARE OVER A MILLION PEOPLE JUST LIKE BILL AT THE CORNER STORE WHO WERE GOING TO BE GOING TO SLEEP TONIGHT ON STREET CORNERS, UNDER BRIDGES AND WOODS.

AND IN PARKING LOTS ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, THERE IS NO NEED FOR THIS.

THERE'S NO NEED FOR THIS.

IF WE CAN