Newsletter – March 2017

March 2017
In This Issue
Homelessness Awareness Day was observed in Austin on February 28. Advocates from across the state came together to speak to legislators at the Capitol on behalf of the more than 23,000 people experiencing homelessness in Texas on any given day.

Homelessness Awareness Day


Texas Homeless Network (THN) is a non-profit membership-based organization whose goal it is to prevent and end homelessness. THN provides training and technical assistance to help service providers and communities better serve people experiencing homelessness in their respective cities. Recently, THN hosted Homelessness Awareness Day at the State Capitol.


On Tuesday, February 28, a total of 44 representatives from homelessness service providers from Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas visited the offices of 50 legislators who currently sit on key committees. The representatives spoke to legislators about the impact homelessness has throughout the state and discussed several funding streams that were at risk of being reduced or eliminated in General Appropriation Bills HB1 and SB1. The funds in question were the Homeless Housing Services Program and the Balance of State Continuum of Care Technical Assistance program. Both of these funding streams provide homeless services in Texas and have been instrumental in decreasing homelessness thus far.
Another of THN’s goals was to discuss the ability to leverage funding from both public and private sources for the Healthy Community Collaborative (HCC) so that it may use more of its current funding for needed homelessness supports. HCC is a group of community partners, including Integral Care, who work together to improve the health of Travis County residents by providing integrated community-based housing and support services for individuals who are homeless.
To read more about the success of Homelessness Awareness Day, click here.

Visionary Leadership and Creative Partnerships
“In Austin, we have been able to house close to 400 veterans and earn the designation of functional zero, and that was solely based on organizing and rallying to raise money outside of government through local businesses in our community.”
-Mayor Steve Adler
In January, the US Conference of Mayors brought together more than 300 mayors from across the country to discuss healthcare, public safety and a series of other topics in relation to the economic health of American cities. One of the topics up for discussion was the issue of veterans experiencing homelessness and what several cities have done in response to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2014 Mayor’s Challenge.
Austin’s mayor Steve Adler was in attendance and presented on the city’s recent HUD designation as a “functional zero” city during a joint meeting of the Hunger and Homelessness Task Force and Veteran Homelessness Task Force. In order to get this designation, cities must meet strict criteria in relation to permanent housing placements for vets, the length of time vets are homeless, and the number of vets in their communities who are homeless. Mayor Adler spoke about the city of Austin’s creativity in cultivating community partnerships and its stalwart commitment to ending veteran homelessness. In support of the initiative to end veteran homelessness, Integral Care was recently awarded 25 Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers from the Housing Authority of the City of Austin for Housing First Oak Springs residents.
To read more about the conference and what other mayors are doing to end veteran homelessness, click here.

Meet the Team
SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery) is a nation-wide program led locally by the Texas Homeless Network. The program helps increase access to Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless. Each month, individuals implementing the program are asked to contribute to the Social Workers Stand Up and SOAR blog to highlight their work.
This month’s feature blog was submitted by Joshua Kivlovitz, an Integral Care HCC SOAR intern. Josh Kivlovitz grew up in the Houston area and moved to Austin in 2012 to pursue an undergraduate degree in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating, Josh worked with Texas Advocacy Project as the Special Events & Training Coordinator. Josh is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin and is interning with Integral Care for his first field placement. Josh also works at the National Domestic Violence Hotline as a Digital Services Advocate.
To read about Josh’s experience with two very different clients, click here.
This May, we plan to celebrate the groundbreaking and new name of Housing First Oak Springs.  We will be sure to send you an invitation with the date and time as soon as we confirm with the construction crew. We know that housing is more than four walls – it’s the basic foundation for mental health and well-being. I invite you to be a part of the solution at


Ellen Richards
Chief Strategy Officer
Austin Travis County Integral Care
Housing First Oak Springs is a project of Integral Care