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Council approves new contract for ARCH

Friday, February 1, 2019 by Jack Craver

The same day Council approved a resolution instructing city staff to identify a property for a new homeless shelter, it also approved a new contract with Front Steps, the nonprofit agency that operates the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless on Seventh Street. The initial term of the contract is for 18 months and $4.5 million, but it could be extended up to five years for a maximum of $13.5 million. The contract envisions changes to ARCH, including a reduction in bed space, from 190 to 130, and a new requirement that those seeking shelter at the facility enroll in case management. Only about 25-30 percent of those entering the shelter do so now, according to a staff memo. People staying at the shelter will also have more flexibility to come and go as they please, whereas currently they must leave in the morning. The idea is to engage all of those who come to ARCH with services that will hopefully lead to permanent housing, rather than simply providing homeless people with a place to stay for the night.

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