Front Steps was formed in 1997 as the Capital Area Homeless Alliance in response to a recommendation of the Community Action Network’s 1996 Comprehensive Plan for Addressing Homelessness. From its founding, our philosophy has been that all people deserve the dignity of a safe place to call home.
Front Steps manages the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) via a contract with the City of Austin. In the early years, we served 50-75 homeless clients a day from a small storefront location in downtown Austin. Today, Front Steps provides day resources to over 600 homeless men and women daily at 7th and Neches and provides emergency overnight shelter to 230 men each night. With support from the City of Austin, Front Steps has transformed the ARCH from a day drop-in center with limited services into a 24/7 social service center providing shelter, showers, basic needs, comprehensive case management / support services, and permanent supportive housing programs. Nine other homeless service providers are co-located at the ARCH, making many of the area’s homeless resources available under one roof.
In addition to shelter services, Front Steps contributes to our community’s goal meeting the permanent supportive housing needs of homeless individuals through the development of three low barrier housing programs. Through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Austin, Travis County and our community partners, Front Steps currently houses 54 individuals in scattered-site apartments. All three Front Steps programs are based on the ‘Housing First’ model with an integrated harm reduction focus. Our substance abuse program, Streets of Hope, and the Recuperative Care Program, a respite resource for medically fragile homeless men and women, focus on the health and healthcare needs of Austin’s homeless. And through the generous in-kind contributions of the community and Front Steps volunteers, homeless men and women have found a resource in Front Steps for blankets, used winter coats, socks, work shoes and an assortment of household goods to launch them forward on their journey away from homelessness.