Nonprofit gets grant to assist homeless

Kayla Jonsson

The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation is attempting to prevent homelessness in Austin through a $50,000 grant to the nonprofit organization Green Doors.

Green Doors strives “to end homelessness and poverty housing for those working to achieve independent living in Central Texas,” according to the group’s website. Those who qualify for the program include the disabled as well as residents earning less than $22,150 a year — 30 percent of the area’s median family income.

The corporation chose Green Doors to receive the grant because of the support it offers residents, said executive vice president Liz Bayless. The funding will provide help for 60 residents of Green Doors’ permanent supportive housing by financing renovations for the interior and exterior of the apartments.

“Green Doors has been able to assist individuals and families struggling with or at risk of homelessness by providing quality affordable housing,” Green Doors executive director Frank Fernandez said. “Unfortunately, funding for supportive services has greatly diminished at the state and local level. This grant from TSHAC will allow us to continue to meet the needs of
our residents.”

Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, a longtime supporter of Green Doors, participated in the presentation of the award.

Watson said help must be given to those with financial struggles because poverty is “getting close
to home.”

“In these tough times we forget that our very close loved ones — family members, friends and neighbors — are sometimes just a step away from economic troubles,” Watson said.

Bayless said on any given day, there are about 5,000 homeless people in Austin.

“This can seem overwhelming, but through programs like Green Doors we are working toward a solution,” she said.

Bayless said the renovations funded by the grant help residents who cannot afford remodeling live in a more comfortable environment.

“When we came [to Treaty Oaks Apartment Complex] it was not in good shape,” Fernandez said. “[Green Doors] put in new floors and light fixtures and is working on a garden.”

Bayless said corporation members were excited to present the award to Green Doors and to provide healthier living accommodations for residents.