Dennis knows what it is to be hungry and homeless. He lived next to a dumpster for seven years before finding his way to Austin Street Center. Overwhelmed by most people and places, he carved out a little spot for himself away from the world and depended on scraps and handouts to survive.
As the holidays approach and we think about gathering with family and friends, let’s take a moment to learn more about hunger and homelessness in our community—and what you can do to help.
The 2017 Point in Time Count revealed that there are 3,789 homeless men, women, and children in Dallas County, their average age is 53 years. Austin Street Center is the only shelter in Dallas focusing on this older population.
Hunger and homelessness go hand in hand, which is why each year the week prior to Thanksgiving is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, organized by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. This week sheds light on those who are going without the basics of food and shelter.
Austin Street Center’s mission is to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness by providing safe shelter, meals, clothing, and more. Each year, we shelter more than 2,700 individuals and serve more than 250,000 meals. By providing these basic needs, we create a safe environment for men and women to begin to restore their lives. Men like Dennis. After Dennis became acclimated to Austin Street, he worked with a case manager to get him into his own apartment—where he is living now!
How can you help?
VOLUNTEER: Join our incredible team of volunteers who help with everything from meal service to daily intake to sorting and distributing clothing and hygiene items. Group and individual opportunities are available. More information and volunteer application available here.
GIVE: Our ability to respond to needs in our community relies on support from individuals like you. Help keep Austin Street running by contributing financially here.
DONATE: Organize a clothing drive! We are always in need of gently used men’s and women’s jeans, warm winter clothing and shoes, and new socks and underwear. Keep up with our current needs here.
ADVOCATE: This holiday season, consider sharing what you’ve learned with your friends and family and get them involved. Awareness is the first step to making a change. Be sure to like us on Facebook for the latest, and encourage your community to subscribe to our newsletter.
Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors—by ensuring they have what they need to begin the journey of ending their homeless experience.