The Austin Young Chamber is partnering with the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Austin Alliance and other area organizations on a new coalition called ATX Helps to address homelessness in Austin.

Earlier this year, the City of Austin led by Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council, made addressing homelessness a top priority. We would like to applaud our city leaders for pushing homelessness to the forefront, and we are proud to be a part of ATX Helps, which is one solution to move this issue forward.

ATX Helps will raise money to build an emergency shelter, provide outreach, and offer storage to those who are suffering from homelessness. The goal is to raise $14 million for construction and operation of a Sprung shelter that will provide immediate housing and other necessities for Austinites experiencing homelessness. This idea came from a solution that is working well in San Diego.

A part of our vision at the Austin Young Chamber is for Austin to be the most collaborative and community focused city in the country. We are using our collective voice on this issue because we believe it aligns with that vision. When it comes to collaboration, the ATX Helps coalition is a positive step forward. We are committed to being a part of this solution, but we want to stress that it is only one solution to a complex issue. Not only will we be a part of ATX Helps, but we are open to working with the City of Austin and others on additional solutions because we know it will take more than one.

Homelessness is not a political issue, even though it is often politicized. The people who are suffering from homelessness are not a problem. They are real people and we must have compassion for them. It is our hope that we can all come together as a city to show our compassion for ALL the members of our community. We must be collaborative and community focused.

We have a lot of work to do as a city. As young professional leaders, we must step up and use our voice for good, to make our great city the absolute best it can be for everyone.