The Other Ones Foundation was born out of a multi-agency work group trying to find innovative solutions to Austin’s Downtown Homeless crisis. Our first big idea was the Mobile Micro Shelter program. The program, which is still in the works, seeks to build a fleet of mobile homeless shelters that can be tucked away over night in secluded, out of site, and ever changing locations. We see these units serving as not only shelter, but as tools to help transition the most detached and vulnerable population among us into an engaged community. Though this idea has not come to fruition yet, we have been plenty busy with our largest offering to date: our Workforce First Program.

Knowing that income is vital to finding housing stability, we wanted to offer folks the opportunity to earn an income during the day while the shelters weren’t operating. This led us to seek out employment opportunities for our homeless neighbors, and gave way to our Workforce First program (WFF). WFF offers folks (who might otherwise be panhandling) the opportunity to get a days work. The dignity and empowerment of work, and the income it brings, serves a major stepping stone to getting our homeless friends on the path to a more fulfilling life. We have already enjoyed a great deal of success: In just under a year, WFF has paid out over $100,000 in earned income to individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty, and 24 of our clients have moved into stable housing!