There are thousands of homeless people on the streets of Austin, and many nonprofits are doing what they can to help. One of those organizations is Front Steps, which manages the Austin Recourse Center for the homeless, or ARCH.
Every day, about 800 people come through the door of Front Steps. Some are seeking a place to sleep, while others are just looking for a hot meal.
Mike Abkowitz is the interim executive director for the shelter. He said usually the dining room area isn’t open at the facility, but in recent days the organization has seen and influx in need. To meet the increasing demand, they have opened up some of the extra space available at the shelter.
"We have staff working around the clock day and night. Weekdays and weekends we're serving dinner 365 days a year,” Abkowitz said. “We're trying to keep this place clean and hospitable and healthy for all of our clients, and that's a major task."
The group coordinates with other agencies to provide job and housing services for homeless individuals.
"With the economy the way it is, we have people who never in their wildest dreams would have imagined finding themselves on the streets, in a homeless jobless situation,” Abkowitz said. “What our folks try to do is work with them, find out what kind of assistance they need to get employed, get them housed and get them back on their feet."
Front Steps relies on donations to help the homeless population in Austin.
The shelter is need of new blankets, clothes, food donations and monetary contributions to stay up and running.