Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Austin breaks ground on apartments for victims of violence, abuse

Lorianne Willett
The site of a new supportive housing location on Lancaster Ct on Monday.

The City of Austin Housing Department announced the groundbreaking of a 60-unit permanent supportive housing building for survivors of violence and abuse in a June 13 press release

The Lancaster, set to be completed in February 2026, is a collaboration between Capital A Housing, an affordable housing-focused real estate developer, and the SAFE Alliance, a human services agency serving survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Located about four miles northeast of campus, the building is the first of its kind in Austin. 

“Housing is our number one requested service from survivors,” said Dani Fletcher, SAFE’s senior director of marketing and communications. “Like many of our community partners who provide housing, SAFE’s waitlist hovers around 100 individuals and families seeking housing at any given time. We know firsthand that this need for permanent supportive housing in Austin is great.” 

All of The Lancaster’s units are “dedicated to the Homelessness Response System and will exclusively take referrals through the Coordinated Entry system,” Fletcher said. 

Fletcher said SAFE is one of 11 nonprofits that the Travis County Supportive Housing Initiative Pipeline chose to help build and design 2,000 affordable housing units with. She said this project is possible due to a $110 million investment from 2021’s American Rescue Plan

“(SAFE has) essentially been partners to (The Lancaster) developers and architects and has been pretty ingrained in the whole process, from funding to the actual build of the project,” Fletcher said. “We’re kind of spearheading a lot of these things and weighing in with survivor opinions and advocate knowledge as well.” 

Fletcher said that of the building’s 60 units, 12 will be studio apartments, 32 will be one-bedroom apartments and 16 will be two-bedroom apartments. She said the building plans to have indoor and outdoor community spaces, including group conference rooms for peer support, a computer lab and supportive staff offices. Furthermore, a front desk administrator will act as a concierge to help connect residents with different SAFE services, including therapeutic and legal services. 

The building is also close to grocery stores, health clinics, public transportation and schools, Fletcher said. 

Saniya Chaudhari, the philanthropy chair for Texas Sunshines, a UT spirit group that raises awareness for human trafficking, said this supportive housing building is an important option for people in Austin. She said Texas Sunshines holds fundraisers for the Sexual Violence Prevention Association and other organizations that fight against sexual violence. 

“Housing is a basic human right, and I think it’s really important to have this housing available to people who are trying to escape a dangerous situation,” said Chaudhari, a biomedical engineering sophomore. “If there’s no housing, then people aren’t really incentivized to leave that situation because they don’t know if they’re going to be safe outside if they do leave.” 

Fletcher said the end goal of The Lancaster project is to “provide lasting housing options” and to be a preventative strategy where kids can grow up in an environment with less violence, giving them stability and safety. 

“The future of (The Lancaster) would ideally look like a place where survivors are recognized and supported,” Fletcher said. “(It would also look like) a building in Austin where survivors are seen as vital members of our community that are worthy of safety and belonging. That doesn’t just give survivors an option to heal for themselves and their families. It’s also laying the groundwork for a less violent future for generations to come.”

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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.