(City of Austin)

The homeless community will now have a place to store their belongings with the City of Austin's newly launched Violet KeepSafe Storage program, that provides 96-gallon bins and locks to unsheltered individuals so they can store their possessions without fear for their safety.


Bins are provided to those referred by the Homeless Outreach Street Team or the Downtown Austin Community Court. The city will provide 85 bins but hopes to expand its capacity up to 200 more bins in addition to opening new facilities in decentralized locations. The facility is located in the HealthSouth parking garage in downtown Austin.

The program is designed so people who live unsheltered can untether themselves from their belongings and safely attend doctor's appointments, pursue employment opportunities or rest without worry.

Assistant City Manager Chris Shorter said this is an important step, as it is often hard to travel with large items, such as blankets, and people often do not want to show up to an important appointment carrying everything they own with them.

"This is a major step forward for our support system in response to our homeless population and it's just a first step," Shorter said in a press release. "We are expanding citywide and will be able to serve hundreds more."

Violet KeepSafe Storage builds on existing programs by FrontSteps, which provides storage, showers, laundry, computers and other resources to the Austin homeless community through the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless.

The program aims to preserve dignity within the homeless and unsheltered community and was inspired by similar programs across the country. You can find more information on Violet KeepSafe Storage here.

(Emma Freer)

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