The Salvation Army Austin Updates
May 10, 2023
We are pleased to announce that The Salvation Army - A Georgia Corporation has approved the sale of the downtown building located at 501 E 8th Street. After serving those in need for more than 45 years, it is time for the property to be transformed into its next purpose for downtown Austin. Any questions regarding the sale of the building should go to Peter Jansen and Jennifer Joseph at CBRE.
We are committed to thoughtfully reinvesting the proceeds from the sale of the downtown building in the local community. This may involve purchasing another building or constructing a new facility to further serve Central Texans in need. The sale of the downtown building will undoubtedly advance our mission, and proceeds will become available in the future, upon completion of the sale. We continue to rely on the generosity of donors like you for general operating funds. Our board is currently meeting to develop a comprehensive plan that aligns with our family-focused mission and ensures impactful reinvestment efforts.
Our focus is on providing effective and holistic programs to low-income families with children, through The Rathgeber Center for Families, The Austin Shelter for Women and Children, The Williamson County Service Center, and new programs. We currently have 300 beds within our two family shelters - which are at capacity nightly - with an extensive waiting list of more than 500 individuals. Notably, 93% of those we shelter are women and children, and we are committed to providing the wrap around services that families with children need to regain self-sufficiency.
We are proud to share that our efforts to support those in need have made a significant impact in the lives of hundreds of parents and children. A heartwarming video below highlights this impact, featuring a family who found hope and stability at The Rathgeber Center for Families. We remain committed to ensuring more Central Texas families have similar success stories to share.
April 13, 2023
At The Salvation Army, our first and highest priority is helping those experiencing homelessness move from crisis to stability. As of this morning, we have successfully exited all the clients that were previously at The Downtown Shelter. We are grateful to everyone involved in successfully transitioning each client into safe housing. All of the staff from The Downtown Shelter have also determined their future plans, many staying on to support our two other shelters. As we look to the future, we are focused on amplifying our focus on providing effective and holistic programs to low-income families with children, through The Rathgeber Center for Families and the Austin Shelter for Women and Children. As our future plans unfold, we will provide regular updates.
March 29, 2023
As of this morning, we have successfully exited 89 clients and have 11 clients working with case managers to finalize their exit plans. The remaining 11 brothers and sisters in shelter have been offered several options for safe exit. We are grateful to the various organizations and landlords helping us safely house remaining clients and others who have already exited shelter.
“We are working hand in hand with the city and clients. Client’s case managers are meeting with them on a regular basis to talk about what their next steps look like and how we can help them get through this process. At the same time, the City has offered that they may have some places where some of these clients would be able fit in, depending on whether it’s a program or shelter or how that looks,” said Major Reckline in an interview with Audacy.
"Reckline said the Salvation Army continues to serve as many people as it can. The organization is focusing on another facility called The Rathgeber Center, in East Austin, that opened in 2020, helping hundreds of families in need," reported Matt Fernandez from KVUE.
“We are focusing on families. This last week, our waitlist for a program like this was over 600 people, and over 300 of them children. And so it does tell you there is need for these programs in the facility (The Rathgeber Center for Families) we are in right now," said Major Reckline in an interview with KVUE.
*Audacy interview starts at 20:38
March 10, 2023
We are grateful the City of Austin has partnered with us to continue to serve clients at our Downtown Shelter. After several years of negotiations with the City without any resolution, we made the difficult decision to close the doors of this shelter on March 15, 2023. The Salvation Army Austin continues to serve families at The Rathgeber Center for Families and The Austin Shelter for Women and Children.
We continue to work closely with the city officials and other partners in ensuring everyone currently in our shelter has a transition plan. The majority of the 100 clients in The Downtown Shelter have worked closely with their caseworkers to choose a next step and have safely exited the shelter. Those remaining are either finalizing exit plans with their case worker or determining their next steps. We will continue to safely exit clients at The Downtown Shelter as client plans finalize now and through the upcoming weeks and ensure remaining clients have safely exited no later than April 30th.
We continue to provide guidance and resources to exit every client safely. Despite reports to the contrary, The Salvation Army has always been committed to the safe exit of our downtown shelter brothers and sisters. We continue Doing the Most Good and are committed to follow our Christian mission as we shepherd our downtown shelter clients through these conversations and decisions.
We are committed to continuing to amplify and expand our ability to serve families, and women and children specifically, at our two remaining shelters: The Rathgeber Center for Families and The Austin Shelter for Women and Children. By purposefully consolidating our entrusted resources we are confident that our ability to deliver on our mission will be strengthened, and we will continue to work with partners in addressing family homelessness for decades to come. The Salvation Army has 300 beds within our two shelters where we serve families experiencing homelessness.
March 2, 2023
After several years of engagement, investigation and discussion with the City and with our leadership, we made the difficult decision to close this shelter on March 15th. We can no longer continue to offer the level and quality of care our brothers and sisters need at this facility. We agree with our partners in this space, that the crisis of homelessness in our City remains an enormous challenge. In the short term, we are diligently working with each of the clients currently at the downtown shelter to help them relocate and access the care and services they need. In the long term, closing this facility allows us to amplify our focus on families and women and children who are experiencing homelessness. Through our Rathgeber Center for Families and the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, we operate 300 beds, continue to serve vulnerable families, and look forward to continuing to work with the city as a collaborative partner now and in the future.
February 17, 2023
We are excited to announce The Rathgeber Center for Families is turning three on February 26th, 2023! Throughout these years, we have successfully served hundreds of families, women, and children at The Rathgeber Center. In addition, we are researching homeless prevention programs, and are working on short-, mid-, and long-term programming to better serve families in crisis.
In honor of this birthday, we would like to highlight that The Rathgeber Center has served a total of 1,068 people including:
448 Adults 620 Children 328 Households
At The Salvation Army, our first and highest priority is helping those experiencing homelessness move from crisis to stability. Through our network of shelters and services in Central Texas each day we care for people in crisis, providing overnight shelter and delivering wraparound services, including case management, counseling, food, and housing resources to meet their needs.
The downtown shelter has historically been an important cornerstone of our local services, but the facility is aging and in disrepair. After a long period of consideration and prayer, with the counsel of Advisory Board members and Austin community leaders, we have come to the decision that we can no longer continue to offer the level and quality of care our brothers and sisters need at this facility. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the challenges of operating this facility with the staff and support necessary, and it is no longer tenable to continue investing in the necessary infrastructure.
We are called to be good stewards of every dollar entrusted to us. We believe closing this facility now will allow us to ultimately provide enhanced care for a meaningful number of families, women, and children in need. Our motto is “Doing The Most Good.” By purposefully consolidating our entrusted resources, we are confident our ability to deliver on our mission will be strengthened. We will work closely with our partners to make sure everyone currently in the downtown shelter is relocated and continues to have access to the care and services they need.
We wanted you to hear directly from us. We are committed to “Doing the Most Good” and know we can help children and parents in crisis. Our future is tied to theirs, and we are committed to a families, women, and children-focused mission.
Major Lewis Reckline