Austin businesses and organizations are throwing their support behind a development – but this isn’t a mixed-use tower or Class A office building. The development is an expansion of Community First Village, a community in Northeast Austin that provides housing for chronically homeless. It’s been hailed as an innovative way to reduce homelessness throughout Austin, particularly downtown.
Alan Graham, a former real estate professional who now runs Mobile Loaves & Fishes, is behind Community First. In early November he announced a campaign to raise $60 million for a 27-acre expansion, which would allow for another 350 homes. The 200 homes on Community First’s current footprint are nearly filled.
Community First Village’s mission is to provide “affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas,” according to Mobile Loaves & Fishes. Residents pay $225 a month in rent.
The Downtown Austin Alliance donated $2 million toward the expansion this summer, the largest grant ever given by the DAA. A number of other Austin business leaders, from the Alamo Drafthouse to real estate firms, have also donated to the campaign.
In announcing the expansion, Graham also talked about Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ 10-year plan to cut down on homelessness in Austin – also a goal of Mayor Steve Adler’s.
“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,” Graham, founder and CEO of Mobile Loves & Fishes, said in a statement. “The expansion of the Village will allow us to create additional housing — and to restore dignity and hope — for Austin’s most vulnerable residents.”