AUSTIN, Texas (April 29, 2021) — More than 70% of people experiencing homelessness in Austin and Travis County report their homelessness was caused by abuse or trauma. That’s why The SAFE Alliance plays such a critical role in our community’s homeless response system, providing emergency shelter, housing, and support services for individuals and families fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and trafficking.
During Child Abuse Prevention Month, we’re recognizing SAFE for being Fiercely Focused on ending homelessness.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or trafficking and would like to speak to someone, you can call SAFE’s 24/7 SAFELine at 512-267-SAFE (7233), or text 737-888-7233.
“The face of homelessness is not anything like you think,” explains Melinda Cantu, SAFE’s Vice President of Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Services. “The face of homelessness is a 2-year-old. The face of homelessness is a 15-year-old. The face of homelessness is a woman and three children.”
SAFE is recognized in the community for providing emergency shelter services, but “we learned pretty quickly that housing had to be part of the solution,” says SAFE Co-CEO Julia Spann.
“Over the years, SAFE moved from shelter to also having transitional housing, rapid rehousing, permanent affordable housing, doing prevention, doing diversion,” Spann says.
And those housing interventions are very effective. About 95% of people SAFE serves through supportive housing are ale to then access permanent housing. SAFE has scaled up housing resources considerably in the last several years, and Erin Goodison, SAFE’s Senior Director of Housing, says they need to continue to scale up to provide resources to meet the organization’s mission to Stop Abuse for Everyone.
“I really believe that we won’t end homelessness until we stop abuse,” Goodison says. “The goal is to continue to grow housing resources and opportunities in collaboration with the entire community and our partners until no one has to make a choice between staying in an abusive situation or staying outside.”
Watch the video above or on ECHO’s YouTube channel to learn more about why SAFE is Fiercely Focused on ending homelessness.