About ECHO

Everyone deserves a home

A home is the foundation we all need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives and build thriving communities. We believe everyone deserves the safety and stability that a home offers. As the backbone organization for Austin/Travis County’s Homelessness Response System, ECHO is committed to ensuring housing is a human right for everyone who lives in our community.

Work at ECHO   System Progress 

Concrete block on dirt path painted with words "Homeless lives matter"
  • Guiding Statements

    The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

    • Mission

      We lead and align a coalition to administer an effective Homelessness Response System, centered in racial equity, informed by the needs and expertise of people experiencing homelessness, and accountable to systemically marginalized communities.

    • Vision

      Everyone in our community has housing of their choice that provides a foundation for optimal health, success, and stability.

    • Acknowledgement

      Historic, structural, and systematic racism in our community has resulted in people of color, especially Black people, being more likely to become homeless in our community and ECHO is therefore committed to centering racial equity in its work with providers, community partners, and community members.

    • Values

      • Leadership – Advocate alongside the people we serve.
      • Passion – Serve our community with drive and commitment.
      • Racial Equity – Promote policies, programs, and performance monitoring to seek to reduce racial disparities in homelessness.
      • Diversity and Collaboration – Seek diverse voices and unique perspectives to best serve our community.
      • Continuous Improvement
        • Lived Expertise – Affirm that people are experts in their own circumstances and couple their expertise with data to inform our system.
        • Data Informed Decisions – Promote and value evidence and data to impact solutions.
        • Innovation – Foster and lead innovation in HRS.
      • Courage – Have hard conversations, take personal and organizational accountability, and take risks and make changes when needed.
  • Our Work

    ECHO does not operate housing programs or provide direct services. Our job is to help coordinate the organizations who do. Together, we can make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time. Learn more about ECHO’s roles below.

    • Coalition Leader

      Ending homelessness in a community takes a strategy that involves the entire community. ECHO partners with people who’ve experienced homelessness, service providers, government leaders, property owners, philanthropists, and many more to coordinate the community-wide strategy to end homelessness in Austin and Travis County.

      ECHO is the lead agency of Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care (CoC). The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that communities pick a single agency to apply for federal grant funds through the CoC program. The agency is responsible for collecting and evaluating project applications from partner organizations (like those listed on our partners page) and submitting a single collaborative grant application on behalf of the community. The CoC Lead Agency is also responsible for conducting the biennial Point in Time (PIT) Count of people experiencing homelessness.

      ECHO is guided and informed by the CoC’s governance board, Leadership Council. The Council is an independent group of community members involved in the work to end homelessness.

      Austin/Travis County CoC  Leadership Council

    • Data Hub

      Ending homelessness requires a data-driven approach. Our data teams analyze, on an individual level, who is experiencing homelessness in Austin and Travis County. This research helps discover broad trends and racial inequities in our system, as well as develop and monitor plans to fill existing and future needs and gaps in services.

      ECHO is the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Lead for the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care (CoC). HMIS is a centralized, person-level database that providers across our community use to connect people with the services and resources they need to end their homelessness. Most providers in our community use this database. Our HMIS and Research & Evaluation Teams examine this data regularly to inform our system’s work.

      Homelessness at a Glance  Reports & Research  Dashboard  HMIS

    • Housing Facilitator

      The faster someone moves back into a safe, stable place to live, the faster that person can begin to recover from the daily trauma of homelessness. Research shows strategies that prioritize housing paired with individualized supportive services are most effective in providing people the tools they need to remain stably housed long-term.

      ECHO doesn’t provide housing directly. Our role is to coordinate and support two key elements of our community’s rehousing system. The first is the Coordinated Entry System (CES). This system uses a centralized assessment process to connect people with potential housing programs. This is a “no wrong door” approach that means no matter which organization someone interacts with, as long as they use this database, they’re automatically connected to every other provider in the system. ECHO’s Coordinated Entry Team manages this system on behalf of the Continuum of Care (CoC), and the data generated from the process informs changes to our Homelessness Response System (see “Data Hub” above).

      The second element we support is bringing new units into our system for people with high barriers to ending their homelessness. Most of the time, when someone works with one of our partners to end their homelessness, they move into a market-rate apartment with rental assistance and ongoing case management. ECHO advocates for units for the system by engaging with stakeholders and the community. These housing units have low barriers for entry.

      Coordinated Entry  

    • Community Advocate

      Everyone has a role to play in ending homelessness. ECHO works alongside people who’ve experienced homelessness, community equity advocates, and folks committed to the cause of housing justice. Our goal is to lift up evidence-based strategies to ensure our community’s rehousing system is equitable, efficient, and able to serve everyone who needs a place to live.

      From your local neighborhood association, to City Council, to our state and federal legislatures, the more people who speak up for proven solutions, the more likely decision-makers are to listen. Use your voice to help us end homelessness in our community.

      Get Involved

  • Strategic Plan

    Strategic Plan (PDF)

    A workgroup of ECHO staff, Board members, and the co-chairs of our Homelessness Response System Leadership Council engaged the firm Racial Equity Partners (REP) in 2022 to facilitate the organization’s first long-term strategic planning process. REP conducted a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis through interviews and focus groups with 43 people in our community, ECHO Board members, and all 33 ECHO staff members employed at the time.

    The analysis informed a multiyear strategic plan that is responsive to the needs of our organization, our community, and our shared goal of a future without homelessness. This will be an ongoing conversation with our community to hold ECHO and our partners accountable to the goals and priorities we’ve defined together.

  • Nonprofit Information

    • Board of Directors

      Ed McHorse | Acting Chair
      McGinnis Lochridge

      Mark S. Hernandez, RN MD FACP | Treasurer
      Medical Director, Public Health Alliances, Ascension Medical Group

      Shannon Sedwick | Secretary
      Esther’s Follies

      Cossy Hough, LCSW
      UT School of Social Work

      Alberta Phillips
      Journalist and Community Advocate

      Betty Staehr
      Community Advocate

      Lynn Meredith
      Community Advocate

      Steven Brown
      President, Givens Park Work Group

      C. Lane Prickett

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