1717 Jeffries Street, Dallas, TX 75226
Founded by Shelter Ministries of Dallas (“SMD”) in 1983 and located on Austin Street south of downtown Dallas, the shelter moved to its current location on Hickory Street in 1992. Austin Street Shelter subsequently evolved into Austin Street Center, a 400-bed shelter and comprehensive care program for the homeless. More than just a meal and a bed, the Austin Street individualized model of service offers the homeless a comprehensive program that includes housing coordination and stabilization services, employment and education resources, benefits and ID assistance, mental health services on-site, spiritual, emotional, and addiction support, diversion, and transportation. Austin Street is also Dallas’ largest “low barrier” shelter, accepting people as they are, without imposing obstacles or “barriers” to entry, such as passing a drug test.
Despite an aging facility and space constraints, Austin Street has managed to support substantial increases in client volume over the past five years (1,569 in 2013 to 3,008 in 2018), while significantly enriching its program to better address needs. The center’s track record remains impressive; its programs have the highest success rate for housing transition in Dallas, with the lowest rate of recidivism. However, both the current facility and its staff have reached capacity; both require expansion, as homelessness in Dallas continues to increase. (The 2019 “Point in Time” count of the homeless population revealed 4,538 total individuals experiencing homelessness in Dallas, a 9% increase over 2018.) In response, Austin Street is planning a brand-new campus that spans approximately 2.3 acres and is located across the street from the current South Dallas facility.
On January 7, 2021, utilizing allocation provided by PeopleFund, Dallas Development Fund and Capital One, Crescent and SMD closed on a $17,500,000 NMTC financing to construct the new Austin Street Center.
The new 60,000 square-foot Austin Street Center for Community Engagement, a 24/7 client-focused facility dedicated to supporting and improving the health and wellness of Dallas’ most vulnerable homeless population.
The new Austin Street Center for Community Engagement will increase shelter capacity by 12%, meals served by 28%, bathroom stall availability by 400%, daytime access by 100%, case managers by 67%, respite care by 30 beds, and classroom space through the addition of three new classrooms – with all of this accomplished in the context of efficient, state-of-the-art facilities operated according to data-driven best practices.