The Other Ones Foundation was born out of a desire to find new and innovative approaches to serving Austin’s homeless community. TOOF’s origins involve a deep dive of outreach and interviewing in encampments, asking unhoused people what THEY felt was missing from the homelessness response system. Our most common finding was that people felt directionless and disempowered to connect with their community during the day, while waiting to get into shelters or access other services. This gave way to our Workforce First Program, which offers folks (who might otherwise be panhandling) an extremely low barrier opportunity to get a day’s work. The dignity and empowerment of working in a group setting and giving back to your community, complimented by income and case management, serves as a major stepping stone to getting our homeless friends on the path to a more fulfilling life.
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, we rolled out our second major program, the Mobile Hygiene Clinic (affectionately named the “Box of Rain”). What started as one shower trailer going around town delivering showers, toiletries, and lunches, has now grown to include several permanent locations as well.
Our most recent endeavor is to step up as stewards, in partnership with a resident-elected Leadership Committee, of Camp Esperanza. Camp Esperanza is a State-sanctioned homeless encampment in Austin, TX that is currently occupied by ~150 people.
TOOF is offering our services to the residents, including hygiene facility access, work opportunities, and case management. We are also functioning as service coordinators for the camp by partnering with other service providers in the community. Finally, we are partnering with the residents of the camp and their self appointed leadership committee to build a solution focused community at Camp Esperanza. Learn more HERE!