Newsletter – May 2016

May 2016
In This Issue
May is Mental Health Month – an opportunity to encourage our community to learn more about mental illness, share recovery stories and connect to resources that promote mental health. Mental health matters to everyone and our homeless population is no exception. Of the 2197* homeless individuals living in Travis County, 45% report having a current mental health issue and 60% live with substance use disorder. Mental Health Month helps us talk about these issues, offer support, and reduce stigma in our communities.

*According to the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count, 2016. The PIT count includes the number of unduplicated homeless individuals living in Travis Count on any given day.*

Integral Care is building Housing First Oak Springs, an apartment community in Austin where residents can build a better life through recovery from homelessness, mental illness and substance use disorder.

Be a part of the solution. Donate today.
Why Housing First Oak Springs? 

"The number of individuals living on the streets and the need for affordable housing far exceeds the resources we have in our city. Housing is a healthcare intervention and it fits perfectly with Integral Care’s mission."
— Chris Laguna, Practice Manager, Healthy Community Collaborative Program

It’s extremely difficult to recover from a mental illness or substance use disorder when you live on the streets. Housing First Oak Springs is a unique type of health intervention that provides permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals. In this evidence-based model, individuals move immediately, with almost no pre-condition, from the streets or shelters into housing. Once housed, they receive rehabilitation services and recovery supports to help them rebuild their lives and achieve improved well-being. With a safe place to live and appropriate support services, the vicious cycle of shelter-jail-emergency room ends and recovery begins.

Housing First Is Changing Lives

Housing First programs help people experiencing homelessness in many cities worldwide. Check out how Housing First helped the Canadian city, Medicine Hat.

How Austin Benefits

Meet The Team

Integral Care provides housing services across our community – preparing individuals to get into housing and supporting individuals who are housed. The housing teams are made up of mobile, multi-disciplinary staff members that provide care, support and crisis intervention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services are tailored to each person’s unique needs and are provided where the person lives – whether that’s on the streets, in a shelter, or in permanent supportive housing. Each month, we will spotlight a staff member and share their insight. Read what Dr. Chris Laguna has to say about the importance of Housing First Oak Springs.

Dr. Chris Laguna, Ph.D., Practice Manager, Healthy Community Collaborative Program

"Individuals experiencing chronic homelessness sometimes struggle with mental illness and substance use issues and have been marginalized by society. It’s hard to reach out, engage them and put a roof over their head as quickly as we would like. Within our program, we have the flexibility to do what is best for our clients and are encouraged to be creative when it comes to providing the unique kinds of support the chronically homeless population needs. I am proud of our team and the amazing work they are doing in our community."

Make Housing First Oak Springs A Reality
Thanks to the Downtown Austin Alliance’s generous $150,000 matching funds pledge, the impact of your gift is worth twice as much. Double your donation today!


See how our teams work with people experiencing chronic homelessness, mental illness or substance use. Join us as we support them on their journey to stable, safe and permanent housing. Tours happen every Wednesday at 9 AM. Interested parties must RSVP.
To RSVP or ask questions contact Jodie Eldridge at
We know that housing is more than four walls. It’s the basic foundation for physical and economic well-being. 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 Austin Travis County Integral Care