Volunteering at Front Steps

Thank you for your interest in being a volunteer with Front Steps! We welcome volunteers who are interested in sharing their time, energy, and skills to help us help clients! Many of our volunteers have been with us for years, and they are truly a part of our family. Some of our volunteers cut hair, others serve dinner. Some come every year and make music outside our door, some come every Monday (for 20 years) and help clients with clothing needs. Some do one-time projects like move donated furniture or collect books for the clients. Some used to be clients, some become staff. One volunteer coached a Front Steps team into competition for the Homeless World Cup. (Yep. That’s a thing.) Every volunteer makes a difference! FAQs and more info below!

Volunteer Login

The first 3 steps for potential volunteers:

  • Apply Online – Complete our volunteer application online.

  • Attend Orientation – Attend an Orientation Event which gives an overview of our work and how volunteers are part of our service delivery. Our Community Engagement Manager sends invitations for upcoming Orientations to those individuals who complete our online application process. Orientations last 2 hours and include a tour, training, and Q&A.

  • Schedule Yourself Online – After you complete an Orientation Event, you will be given access to the Volunteer Login. This will allow you to look at available shifts, schedule yourself, and communicate with the Community Engagement Manager. Our online volunteer schedule systems allows you to book in advance, make changes, and schedule with friends.

FAQs about Volunteering

All volunteers must be 18 or over.

Most of our volunteer placements are at the downtown Austin shelter at 7th and Neches.

Many of our volunteers have been with us for years—but changes to shelter services mean we welcome more volunteers!

Nightly Dinner Service is open to as many as 5 volunteers. All other placements are for 1 or 2 volunteers.

Most are, but we do have some admin projects that use volunteers.

Volunteers are responsible for their own parking. There is plenty of nearby street or paid lot parking.

Yes. Our first daily shift is from 8-10 am and the last shift of the day is from 6-8 pm.

Yes. Eligible applicants who complete their orientation may log on and click the shifts that work best.

Our best volunteers consistently serve 8 hours per month, but we do have workplace/church/friend groups who take a single dinner shift a month (1st Monday, 2nd Friday, etc.) for years. That works!

Yes! Our volunteer opportunities put you alongside our staff in the shelter. Our staff are happy to be a resource and a reassuring presence as our volunteers learn the ropes!

The Community Engagement Manager will take time answer all your questions at Orientations, and at any time during your volunteer service.

Volunteering for 20 Years!

The Capital District United Methodist Men have operated the Homeless Men’s Clothes Closet for homeless men in Austin for 20 years. Every Monday—for 20 years—they arrive downtown and begin unpacking their stock from the small storage space at the Central Presbyterian Church. (The location has changed a time or two, but CPC is the current home!) The volunteers use a meeting room at the Church for the “shop” itself, but they must stow away their stock when the closet isn’t open. It is a packing marvel, the way these guys get the racks and bins and men’s wear tucked away. The clothes are mostly donated—though the volunteers may buy a few things they need and don’t get donated.

The closet they set up is a really a “small shop.” With a voucher from Front Steps, our clients may come by once a month and choose five items of clothing—belts and shoes are also available to clients once per three months. Clients get to choose from available stock, the selections are sized and sorted and the volunteers serve everyone with warmth and dignity. The volunteers are a tight crew—many of them have been volunteering for the whole twenty years. They keep improving their “closet” to make the experience better for the clients we send over from the shelter. Donated belts don’t always come in the sought after sizes (32″ and 34″) so these volunteers got tools and started a “cobbler shop” for cutting down and adding holes to extend the sizing on donated belts that are tooooo big or toooo small.

Twenty years of service is a remarkable achievement, and we are profoundly grateful for their engagement.