Why should families facing homelessness contact the Austin Street Center?
The Austin Street Center provides emergency shelter and therapeutic programs so that those in need can be able to make responsible choices, positive changes and have economic self sufficiency. Not only does the center offer safe, clean shelter and evening meals for over 400 men, women and children each night, but it also provides substance abuse treatment, medical and psychiatric care, adult rehabilitation, and a transitional living facility for clients who qualify.
Tell me about your new financial literacy program with Comerica Bank?
Irv Ashford, Jr., community development and external affairs director for Comerica Bank, has become a real friend of this ministry. Irv graciously volunteered to teach a monthly class on the basics of financial responsibility. This class is open to any client at the facilities who has already shown interest in their personal success. Irv’s program works in conjunction with several of our other re-socialization programs that we tailor around each individual client. We are also one of the only shelters in the USA to participate in the “Banking on People” program. It is a micro money lending program sponsored by Benchmark Bank of Plano. Benchmark will consider homeless entrepreneurs for a loan, dispensing with a portion of the usual requirements and thorough business plans. Once the loan is made, Benchmark and Comerica Bank will mentor the recipient in executing her/his business plan.
Why is the need for African American volunteers so strong in your organization?
Over 50 percent of our client populations are people of color. Having the proper people of character visible and interacting with the clients is a successful strategy. Many of our clients can owe their success to having a caring volunteer that they can relate to. We have many volunteer openings and afternoon snack opportunities for donating organizations who want to come and serve meals to our clients.
What’s next for Austin Street?
We will be having our annual Humble Beginnings awards luncheon which is our biggest event of the year. This year, we will be honoring football star DeMarcus Ware and hoping to raise more funds to ensure the growth of our program. Donations can be made via our website or mailed to us in the form of a check. No amount is too small and donations are always appreciated.
For more information, please visit www.austinstreet.org or send an email to [email protected]