Experiencing Homelessness?

Front Steps is dedicated to ending homelessness in Austin. Among our many programs, we manage the shelter downtown at 7th and Neches—providing case management to move clients from street to shelter to stable housing. The shelter is not intended to be housing, but to be a place for individuals to stay while finding a way to move into stable, secure housing. Like a bus terminal or an airport, it is part of the journey, not the destination.

While the website is updated regularly, it is always possible that information about services we (or our partners) provide may have changed.

I am experiencing homelessness,
about to become homeless,
or helping someone who is experiencing homelessness,
and I need help now.

To receive services, resources and support, please come to Front Steps. We are located at 500 E 7th Street, Austin, TX (corner of Neches & E. 7th St.)

Day services available at the shelter for MEN and WOMEN experiencing homelessness include:

  • restrooms,
  • showers,
  • laundry,
  • computer lab,
  • phone charging,
  • internet access,
  • mail pick up, and
  • storage.

Hours and sign up options for these services vary, details are available from staff. Day Services close by 5 pm daily.

Night sleep at the shelter is for adult MEN experiencing homelessness. ALL clients sleeping at the shelter must participate in case management to move into stable housing. For night sleep, there are TB test requirements. Most of the Day Services (showers, laundry, etc.) are available after 5 pm for night sleep clients. Hours vary, and are posted. Dinner is served for night sleep clients at the shelter, daily, at 7 pm.

Shelter Address:  500 East 7th Street  Austin, TX  78701

  • All clients must show their Service Point Card, issued by Front Steps. These cards are generated same day (some immediate) by our staff.
  • Front Steps is a low barrier shelter—we work to accommodate clients who are struggling with various issues, including sobriety.
  • There are limits to the amount of belongings that an individual may bring into the building. You must be able to carry out what you bring in and no belongings may be left unattended at any time inside the shelter.
  • There are times every day when the shelter closes for cleaning. At those times, all clients must exit the building.
  • Clients are expected to come to the shelter to find out about services. We provide information on our website to answer general questions, and we work with clients who come in for services. Once you have established contact with a Front Steps staff member, they will share contact information with you. Leaving messages in random voice mailboxes does not speed up the process of getting help.
  • WE DO NOT provide SHELTER SLEEP FOR WOMEN or FAMILIES or INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE AGE OF 18. There are not enough shelter beds in the city, and we can only suggest contacting other nonprofits to see what they have available. A list of other resources, including shelters, can be found here. If you are looking for help OUTSIDE OF AUSTIN info can be found here.
  • CLIENT INTAKE for individuals requesting assistance and referrals is managed at our main desk in the shelter lobby. Clients must come in person to make an appointment. Most appointments are same day, wait times vary.
  • INFORMATION is available at our main desk in the shelter lobby. Individuals seeking more information about other services we offer, or available from other nonprofits in the city, can come to the main desk for assistance.
  • CASE MANAGEMENT means working with a staff person to create a housing plan that leads to stable housing, not shelter or streets. Individuals request case management at the front desk in the lobby of the shelter, sometimes there is a waiting list. We will contact you by phone or email if possible when we have an opening. If you do not have a phone or email address, we will post a message for you on the message board in the shelter and leave a note in the computer so our staff can tell you when you check into the building. Some of the clients who sleep at the shelter have Case Managers at other nonprofits in the community, but ALL clients sleeping in the shelter must be in case management.
  • COORDINATED ENTRY is something your Case Manager may recommend. This is a survey with basic questions that is used by nonprofits and agencies who work with people experiencing homelessness, it is a way to prioritize the most vulnerable people for housing services. You do not need to complete a coordinated entry at every nonprofit where you may be getting help. More information about Coordinated Entry may be found here.

IF YOU ARE A VETERAN EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS please know that we have specific programs to assist you. You may come to the shelter for services, please notify staff that you are a veteran seeking housing assistance. You may also contact our program staff who work with veterans at jlazcano@frontsteps.org and request assistance. Never forget, the VA offers a 24/7 hotline, the Veterans Crisis Line, at 1-800-273-8255 or you can chat with them here.

CALLING TO FIND OPTIONS FOR A PERSON EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS WHO IS ABOUT TO BE DISCHARGED FROM A HOSPTIAL?  All referrals for Front Steps’ Recuperative Care Program must come from a hospital social worker (or case management team) before they discharge from the hospital because clinical information must be reviewed for admission. At this time, we are only accepting referrals from Seton Hospital. If you are helping someone find options, ask the hospital staff if they are aware of any “recuperative care programs” that might be an option.

Clients are expected to come to the shelter to find out about services. We provide information on our website to answer general questions, and we work with clients who come in for services. Once you have established contact with a Front Steps staff member, they will share contact information with you. Leaving messages in random voice mailboxes is not going to speed up the process of getting help.

The only meal at the shelter is dinner, and that is only for men sleeping in the shelter. CARITAS operates a community kitchen across the street from the shelter, serving lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.

While there are often socks or underwear available at the hygiene desk inside the shelter, we are not a source for clothing. Information about thrift stores or other resources for clothing is available at the main desk in the shelter lobby. Most Mondays, the United Methodist Men open their Clothing Closet for Men and with a voucher a client may go over and secure needed items. The Clothing Closet vouchers are only available from staff for an hour on Monday mornings, form 8:30 -9:30 am.

CommUnityCare Health Center operates a clinic for clients INSIDE the shelter, Monday through Friday. Clients may be seen by appointment and walk in. Additional info may be found here.

Come to the shelter and find out more about how to get assistance. Within a few blocks of the shelter are a number of sites who offer assistance to clients, once you are here you can find out who may be able to help you with a specific need.

Assignment happens every month on the 11th (if it falls on the weekend then the following Monday). Please come to the main desk in the shelter lobby for more information.

Cold Weather Shelter Hotline: 512-305-ICEE (4233)

On nights when the temperature drops below freezing, the City of Austin coordinates space for temporary overnight shelter. The Cold Weather Shelter Hotline is updated DAILY from November thru March.

The crisis created by COVID-19 makes it much harder to meet basic needs like eating, accessing drinking water, using a restroom, or washing hands. The City and organizations across the city have set up places to meet these needs or adjusted access offered at their locations.

The City of Austin regularly updates this list of services and shelters in the area.

The best advice is to direct that individual to a site where services are offered. The financial, physical, and emotional toll of working with a person experiencing homelessness can be a serious challenge for people without professional training, experience, and resources. Nonprofit and agency professionals work to provide for immediate needs AND help individuals secure stable housing. This is a process that can take weeks or months, another reason steering individuals to a nonprofit is our recommendation.

There are nonprofit organizations, city agencies, and faith-based ministries that offer services to people experiencing homelessness. Any of these are a good first step for accessing help and resources. Wherever a person starts with a request for help, they may be served by multiple other programs after an initial intake. If you are helping someone access services, ask them if they have a Case Manager anywhere. If yes, even if they have not been there for a while, that might be the best place to direct them to reconnect to help. A list of local homelessness services providers can be found here: http://austintexas.gov/department/covid-19-help-homeless-community

I am about to become homeless

The following resources are available to you.

The Austin Tenants Council fulfills thousands of requests each year for help with housing problems.

The City of Austin has extended the moratorium on evictions through September 30, 2020.

The City of Austin’s Neighborhood Centers are providing rent and utilities assistance (512-972-5780), and the Travis County Community Centers are also providing rent and utilities assistance (512-854-4120).

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program is managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) to help low-income families (at or below 50 percent of the Median Family Income) by providing rental subsidies and case management support services. For more information, visit the HACA website or call at (512) 477-1314.

Travis County Family Support Services provides rental assistance, but limits that assistance to once every 12 months and requires the applicant to register for workforce development, education, or job training services. (512) 267-3245

Advocacy Outreach administers state grant funding to help people experiencing homelessness pay for moving expenses or security deposits. Other financial aid, loans, or grants may be issued for rent or energy bills. For more information visit any of the organizations listed below:

Catholic Charities of Central Texas (512) 651-6100

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (512) 345-8314

St. Vincent de Paul, St. Austin’s Catholic Church (512) 477-9471

Austin Texas Health and Human Services Department (HHSD) (512)-972-5011

In Austin, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s Housing Group protects the rights of low-income tenants and homeowners with the aim of keeping them in their homes and reducing the number of people forced into homelessness.

CALLING TO FIND OPTIONS FOR A PERSON EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS WHO IS ABOUT TO BE DISCHARGED FROM A HOSPTIAL?  All referrals for Front Steps’ Recuperative Care Program must come from a hospital social worker (or case management team) before they discharge from the hospital because clinical information must be reviewed for admission. At this time, we are only accepting referrals from Seton Hospital. If you are helping someone find options, ask the hospital staff if they are aware of any “recuperative care programs” that might be an option.

I am looking for someone who is experiencing homelessness.

If you are looking for someone you think may be in the shelter or on the streets of Austin, here is some information to help you understand your options.

We understand this can be a very emotional search, but please know that we do not give out information on clients. We cannot even confirm if anyone is (or has been) a client, there are privacy regulations we must follow.

If you think the person you are trying to find gets MAIL at the ARCH shelter in downtown Austin, you can send a letter:

NAME OF INDIVIDUAL
PO Box 2509
Austin Texas, 78768

If you would like to send a message that we would post on the client bulletin board, you can write a note, write a name on the outside, and then put it in an envelope and send it to:

Front Steps Staff: Please Post on Client Notices Bulletin Board
PO Box 2509
Austin Texas, 78768

If you would like to create a flyer to be posted, please create a single page flyer that has the info about who’s you are looking for (name, identifying info, photo if possible) and the message about calling home (your name, contact info, etc.) and a date. We will post this near the door, perhaps the person you are seeking will see it, or someone else will recognize a person and relay a message. You may send flyers via mail to:

Front Steps Staff: Please Post
PO Box 2509
Austin Texas, 78768

There is information available on the internet (search looking for homeless family member) that may suggest other things you can do in these situations.

If you have a reason to think the person you are looking for died while homeless in Austin, you might contact the Travis County Burial Program.

Housing First Works

Front Steps successfully houses hundreds of individuals a year. We have found housing for clients who were on the streets/in shelter for months, years, and decades. We hear from clients all the time who have passed their 2-year or 5-year or 10-year anniversary of being housed. We really can help.

Important Information About Our Shelter

Shelter Address: 500 East 7th Street Austin, TX 78701

All clients must show their Service Point Card, issued by Front Steps. These cards are generated same day (some immediate) by our staff.

Front Steps is a low barrier shelter—we work to accommodate clients who are struggling with various issues, including sobriety.

There are limits to the amount of belongings that an individual may bring into the building. You must be able to carry out what you bring in and no belongings may be left unattended at any time inside the shelter.

There are times every day when the shelter closes for cleaning. At those times, all clients must exit the building.

Clients are expected to come to the shelter to find out about services. We provide information on our website to answer general questions, and we work with clients who come in for services. Once you have established contact with a Front Steps staff member, they will share contact information with you. Leaving messages in random voice mailboxes does not speed up the process of getting help.

WE DO NOT provide SHELTER SLEEP FOR WOMEN or FAMILIES or INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE AGE OF 18. There are not enough shelter beds in the city, and we can only suggest contacting other nonprofits to see what they have available. A list of other resources, including shelters, can be found here. If you are looking for help OUTSIDE OF AUSTIN info can be found here.

CLIENT INTAKE for individuals requesting assistance and referrals is managed at our main desk in the shelter lobby. Clients must come in person to make an appointment. Most appointments are same day, wait times vary.

INFORMATION is available at our main desk in the shelter lobby. Individuals seeking more information about other services we offer, or available from other nonprofits in the city, can come to the main desk for assistance.

CASE MANAGEMENT means working with a staff person to create a housing plan that leads to stable housing, not shelter or streets. Individuals request case management at the front desk in the lobby of the shelter, sometimes there is a waiting list. We will contact you by phone or email if possible when we have an opening. If you do not have a phone or email address, we will post a message for you on the message board in the shelter and leave a note in the computer so our staff can tell you when you check into the building. Some of the clients who sleep at the shelter have Case Managers at other nonprofits in the community, but ALL clients sleeping in the shelter must be in case management.

COORDINATED ENTRY is one something your case manager may recommend. This is a survey with basic questions that is used by nonprofits and agencies who work with people experiencing homelessness, it is a way to prioritize the most vulnerable people for housing services. You do not need to complete a coordinated entry at every nonprofit where you may be getting help. More information about Coordinated Entry may be found here.