A statement from Haggai Eshed, President of the Front Steps Board of Directors
As of September 30, Austin Public Health will terminate all contracts with Front Steps.
This termination is difficult news for all of us. It is especially concerning because there has never been a time when the coordination and success of homeless service providers in our community matter more than now.
Most importantly, our clients will continue to have access to our services and programs. Programs for all clients will continue as usual.
“In the height of the pandemic, our organization experienced multiple organizational challenges, including major staffing changes and vacancies. The magnitude of these issues now is where we need to pivot our operations,” Haggai Eshed, President of the Front Steps Board of Directors, said. “As a former Front Steps staff member, and now as Board President, it is my responsibility that, in the face of uncertainty, the continuation of client services during this transition is our top priority.”
For 25 years, Front Steps has helped clients navigate wait lists, overcome personal setbacks, cope with negative public opinion and manage the daily stresses of being on the streets or in shelter settings. With our around-the-clock presence, many people experiencing homelessness in Austin would be without life-saving shelter and resources. We recognize this also impacts Front Steps’ hardworking, dedicated frontline staff.
While the city begins to work with homeless service providers to absorb current contracts that include the operation of the Southbridge Shelter, our Permanent Supportive Housing programs, and the ARCH function, there are more than 250 clients enrolled in these three programs. We are committed to continuing their services through the end of our fiscal year, September 30, 2022.
When this transition is complete, our nonprofit partners in this work – already operating at maximum capacity – will be responsible for the care of our clients. Your support for their work is crucial as the need is great and resources are thin as nonprofits are significantly impacted by the increased social and economic instability we all face.
Over the next 90 days, we are committed to working alongside Austin Public Health to maintain stability. We will work to ensure that this transition protects our clients and maintains the integrity of our organization.