Front Steps is committed to providing a full range of services to support our clients in moving from homelessness to safe, affordable long-term housing. Front Steps operates supportive housing programs for chronically homeless individuals and closely coordinates with other homeless services providers in the community to access both transitional and permanent housing options.
Front Steps, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides a total of 58 units of permanent supportive housing designated for chronically homeless individuals. Front Steps’ housing programs are based on the Housing First and Harm Reduction models.
In 2008, Front Steps was awarded a HUD funding to provide 10 units of permanent supportive housing. More than 80% of our residents have maintained housing in this program for at least 25 months. In January 2011, Front Steps implemented new HUD funding to add an additional 26 units of housing to our inventory. These units are specifically designated to house the chronically homeless and frequent users of the ARCH, which are some of our community’s most vulnerable individuals.
Front Steps’ supportive housing programs provide subsidized, scattered-site housing with intensive case management and other support services to ensure the successful housing and community integration of each client. Frequent in-home case management meetings focus on housing stability, increasing self-sufficiency and self-determination. In addition, the programs help our clients develop skills in money management, housekeeping, and integrating into the community.
Case managers assist clients with obtaining and maintaining employment or other income and addressing mental health and physical health needs. Clients with income pay 30% of their income towards rent each month.In the spring of 2011, Front Steps introduced its Circle of Care mentor program which pairs mentors with clients to provide extra support while in our housing programs. Trained mentors work in conjunction with the case managers to provide on-going support while modeling healthy behaviors and social activities.
Front Steps’ supportive housing program partners include: Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC),Foundation Communities, Central Texas Recuperative Care Program, Foundation for the Homeless, Green Doors, The Mulholland Group and Streets of Hope Recovery Support Group.
Front Steps has limited transitional housing for clients of the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) and the Central Texas Recuperative Care Project, primarily through a group home unit where individuals can address issues of sobriety and income stabilization while establishing a housing plan to locate permanent housing solutions.
Our ‘First Steps’ housing program, which is generously funded by the Religious Coalition to Assist the Homeless, assists Front Steps clients move from the overnight emergency shelter into permanent supportive housing. For some clients, this may mean rental assistance on a subsidized unit within public housing or single room occupancy (SRO) unit until the client establishes an income. For others, First Steps may pay the move-in costs (security deposit, first month’s rent, household furnishings, etc.).
The City of Austin has stated a commitment to establishing 350 units of permanent supportive housing to assist low-income, homeless and disadvantaged individuals in need of housing. Front Steps will work toward increasing our housing capacity in the next two years to assist in addressing this goal. Through public and private grants and the continued support of our community, Front Steps seeks to assist as many of the 10,000 homeless men and women we see each year regain their footing and find a pathway to hope and housing.