The Salvation Army of Austin, Texas, expands shelter services with Rathgeber Center

Aug 12, 2019 | by Brad Rowland

The Salvation Army of Austin, Texas, expands shelter services with Rathgeber Center

By: Corey Leith

The Salvation Army of Austin, Texas, celebrated the opening of its third shelter in the area June 6 at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Rathgeber Center. The 212-bed facility for families is scheduled to open this August.

The facility, named for longtime Austin Salvation Army supporter Dick Rathgeber, has been constructed in two phases: a 120-bed emergency shelter and a 92-bed extended stay shelter. In addition to shelter, the Rathgeber Center will offer housing-focused case management to families with children who are experiencing homelessness.

The Salvation Army in Austin typically has hundreds of women and children on its wait list for shelter. Last year, the Army sheltered 934 women and 335 children and provided 27,000 meals in Austin. The Rathgeber Center will accommodate families that are already on the wait list.

Among the amenities at the Rathgeber Center are extended stay units, rapid rehousing programs for residents, private bathrooms in each room, outsourced childcare, case management offices, a computer learning center, family style rooms laundry facilities, community rooms, a full-service kitchen and dining room and a children's playground.

"The new shelter will be a safe haven for families experiencing homelessness," said Major Andrew Kelly, Austin area commander. "The main objective is to move each family from crisis to self-sufficiency."

To maintain fiscal integrity, the Rathgeber Center will roll out services as funding is secured. At 100 percent capacity, the facility would serve 664 people annually, with 76 percent exiting to safe housing, and 76 percent of those participating in employment services increasing their financial stability.

Funding is essential to the center's ability to operate at full capacity. It has been projected that annual operating costs will reach $5.2 million.

Online donations are being accepted at Room sponsorships are being made available to donors. To learn more, contact Kelly Perkins, director of development, at

Corey Leith is the director of communications for the Austin Area Command.

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