The First Board of Directors
On January 4, 1996 the Austin City Council adopted a no-camping ordinance and voted to establish an official City Task Force on Homelessness to “formulate and recommend to the City Council a comprehensive plan of action.” The Council named the Task Force with Richard Pena, Attorney, as chair.
The Comprehensive Plan to Address homelessness in Austin/Travis County was adopted by Community Action Network (CAN) in September 1997. Fred Butler, Executive Director of CAN, played a prominent role in these transactions. The Plan recommended that a 501(c)(3) agency be formed to develop coordinated services and facilities for the homeless, including a Resource Center, low-demand adult shelter, medical services, and transitional housing with case management. In response to this part of the PLAN, the CAN requested the Austin Area Interfaith Ministries (AAIM) to consider assuming this responsibility and requested that the representative from the religious community on the CAN Board, Rose Lancaster, take this initiative to the AAIM Board.
After expressing much interest in the project, the AAIM Board decided that this was not the best function for the AAIM organization nor for the new entity but that individual officers of the Board would be glad to step forward and organize a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency.
The parties were Frank Cooksey as President and a former Austin Mayor; Gail Miller, Secretary and former AAIM president; Rose Lancaster, Treasurer and chair of AAIM Homeless Commission; Patrick Flood, at-large member and Executive Director of AAIM. From the City’s Homeless Task Force, the chairperson, Attorney Richard Pena, became the fifth organizing board member. They were incorporated under the State of Texas as a non-profit corporation in March 1997 and received a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS in June 1997. The Capital Area Homeless Alliance changed their name to Front Steps in 2003.