St. David's Foundation Dedicates Building for Innovative Program to Mitigate Homelessness in Austin

St. David's Foundation Dedicates Building for Innovative Program to Mitigate Homelessness in Austin

Member News
Monday, November 27, 2017

Comprehensive Plan Coincides with Launch of $60 Million Capital Campaign to Fund Expansion of Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ Innovative Community First! Village

Austin, TX - Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF), widely known throughout Central Texas for its compassionate service to the area’s homeless community, today rolled out its ambitious “10-Year Plan to Mitigate Homelessness in Austin” before a gathering of city leaders and influencers.

As part of the organization’s comprehensive plan, MLF also launched a $60 million capital campaign to fund the expansion of its Community First! Village in northeast Austin. Wednesday’s announcement was made at MLF’s newly dedicated Unity Hall, now a centerpiece at the Village, providing a central gathering place for neighbors, staff, volunteers and other visitors.

The only development of its kind in the nation, Community First! Village is a 27-acre master-planned development that provides affordable, permanent housing, as well as a supportive community, for chronically homeless men and women.

“Mobile Loaves & Fishes has been compassionately and effectively serving the homeless community in our city for nearly two decades, and we are deeply committed to improving the lives of our neighbors who are living on the streets,” said Alan Graham, founder and chief executive officer of Mobile Loaves & Fishes. “In just two years since we began moving residents in, Community First! Village has made a measurable difference in addressing homelessness in our city, and we now plan to significantly increase our reach over the course of the next decade. The expansion of the Village will allow us to create additional housing—and to restore dignity and hope—for Austin’s most vulnerable residents.”

As part of the announcement, Graham presented key highlights from MLF’s “10-Year Plan to Mitigate Homelessness,” including:

  • Launching a $60 million capital campaign, which will allow MLF to expand Community First! Village—and, ultimately, yield more than 1,000 new micro-homes and RVs designed specifically for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness.
  • Implementing a plan for extending the necessary time and funding needed to adequately transition an individual out of chronic homelessness and enable them to re-engage back in the economy.
  • Establishing a downtown food commissary, which would give homeless men and women who panhandle an opportunity to engage in new entrepreneurial activities, such as selling ice cream or drinks, utilizing MLF vending gear.

City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who also presented during the MLF event, said, “Mobile Loaves & Fishes is setting a new standard for addressing homelessness in an impactful way—not only in Central Texas, but in communities across the country. As a result of its efforts, a growing number of our homeless neighbors are getting the support they need to rebuild their lives and to thrive within our community.”

The newly dedicated Unity Hall at Community First! Village, which was supported by St. David’s Foundation, is a 13,000 square foot facility that will provide office space and conference rooms, and it will also feature a commercial kitchen to support MLF’s food truck operation and catered events.

“St. David’s Foundation is working to make Austin the healthiest community in the world, and we see Unity Hall here at Community First! Village as the epitome of what we are about,” said Earl Maxwell, chief executive officer of St. David’s Foundation. “We’re delighted to support efforts to create a healthy living environment for all Austinites. This new building will serve as a valuable and added resource for Community First! Village’s neighbors and friends, and we are grateful for the opportunity to support it.”

Community First! Village: A New Movement

Community First! Village is a development of Mobile Loaves & Fishes in northeast Austin designed specifically for men and women who are coming out of chronic homelessness. The Village currently covers 27 acres and features 120 micro-homes, 100 RVs and 20 canvas-sided cottages. The development also has a number of communal amenities, including an art studio, an outdoor movie theater, a medical facility, a community market, places for worship, a blacksmith shop, gardens and more.

The first phase of Community First! Village, which has already been completed, will have more than 200 formerly homeless neighbors living onsite when it reaches capacity in 2018. This addresses the housing needs of approximately 10-15 percent of Austin’s homeless population. Mobile Loaves & Fishes plans to begin development of phase two of Community First! Village in 2018, and it has already purchased an adjacent 24-acres of land to allow for an additional 350 home sites.

Hundreds of partners and thousands of individual donors have come alongside Mobile Loaves & Fishes to make Community First! Village a reality, making it the largest collaborative effort in Austin focused on mitigating homelessness. 

The groundbreaking for the expansion of the Community First! Village is scheduled for 2018.

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