The Esperanza Community is a non-congregate emergency shelter complex in East Austin. Esperanza’s low barrier and trauma informed nature makes it a unique and integral part of Austin’s continuum of care. The physical shelter and associated services are designed to respond to the needs of people who have not engaged with, or been adequately served by, more traditional shelter services. Potential community members include people experiencing chronic homelessness, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people with pets, couples, among others. Check out the video below, made by our friends at Findhelp Presents, that shows some of the latest construction progress!
Originally established as a sanctioned encampment in November 2019 by the State of Texas, the site lacked the necessary service provision and coordination to run smoothly. In August 2020, TOOF and the Texas Department of Transportation worked together to establish TOOF as site operators and develop the appropriate infrastructure for an emergency shelter.
TOOF, in partnership with a self-governing group of community members, is constructing a shelter complex made up of 200 individual shelter units, shaded gathering areas, hygiene facilities, and a community center. Community members are offered holistic supportive services; including onsite work opportunities, harm reduction and substance use support, highly personalized case management and housing navigation, and 24-hour crisis management. TOOF also functions as a service coordinator, working closely with the service provider community to facilitate linkage and transportation to additional outside resources.
The goal of the Esperanza Community is to assist community members with transitioning out of homelessness. Community members are offered not only physical shelter, but a safe environment where they can move into the next phase of their housing journey. Through a variety of social outlets, wellness services, and work opportunities, the Esperanza Community sets the stage for people to learn the skills needed to build and engage in community wherever they are.