Marshalling Yard Temporary Emergency Shelter
Marshalling Yard Temporary Emergency Shelter
On May 15, 2023, the City of Austin announced efforts to expand emergency shelter capacity by establishing a temporary shelter operation at the City-owned Marshalling Yard. This expansion of our community's shelter resources is expected to provide up to 300 additional beds for approximately one year. The Marshalling Yard is located in Council District 3, on Airport Commerce Drive near the intersection of U.S. 183 and TX 71. A portion of the Marshalling Yard warehouse will be utilized for emergency shelter while other crisis response and housing development projects are underway elsewhere. On this SpeakUp! page you will find Frequently Asked Questions and answers, a form to submit unanswered questions, relevant background documents, and a project timeline.
UPDATE: On July 20, the Austin City Council approved negotiation and execution of a contract to operate the Marshalling Yard temporary shelter facility. The shelter is anticipated to open in August.
Frequently Asked Questions
As of May 2023, Austin ECHO estimates 4,652 individuals are unsheltered on any given night, and 803 people spend the night in shelters. Our community presently has fewer than 1,000 shelter beds to serve unhoused residents. Public camping is a consequence of insufficient affordable housing stock, shelter scarcity, and unmet social service needs. The City of Austin and its partners are working to make new housing and shelter resources available to more of our unhoused community members. This surge in housing and shelter resources will help more of our neighbors and reduce the prevalence of public camping.
The Marshalling Yard temporary shelter site will be managed by a third-party nonprofit operator in close collaboration with Austin Public Health. The contract with the service provider may begin as early as August 1, 2023. The exact timeline for starting and ending temporary shelter operations will be negotiated with the nonprofit operator.
Emergency shelters presently operate in four Council districts. Shelters are usually located near corridors served by public transportation. The Marshalling Yard is intended to support our community on a temporary basis while new shelter and housing is developed elsewhere. Future shelter siting will take a variety of factors into consideration such as access to transportation and services, as well as geographic distribution.
Yes, the warehouse building used for shelter services will be staffed around-the-clock. Potential operators have been asked to propose a plan for safety and security.
Gaining access to the Marshalling Yard temporary shelter will be by referral only. People will not be able to walk up and expect to receive a shelter bed. The City will manage the referral and intake process in collaboration with the operator of the shelter.
The City of Austin is seeking a nonprofit operator of the shelter that has at least two years of experience.
The City of Austin seeks an operator that will ensure staff receive training in trauma-informed care, mental health first aid, de-escalation, motivational interviewing, and other communication techniques that will support a safe and stable environment for all shelter personnel and guests.
Length of stay will depend on each guest’s individual circumstances. Some guests may stay briefly, and others may need more time to engage in housing-focused services. The City’s objective is to facilitate a safe and stable environment that improves health, safety, and housing outcomes.
The City has solicited for low-barrier shelter that easily accessed by people experiencing homelessness. As long as a guests' conduct is conducive to safety they will be allowed to remain in shelter. Shelter guests with healthcare needs - such as substance recovery services - will receive appropriate referrals.
Yes, the temporary shelter facility will allow service animals, support animals, and pets. Shelter guests will be expected to protect the wellbeing of others, maintain the health and condition of their service animal or pet, and keep a clean and sanitary environment.
The City has asked potential operators to provide shuttle service to facilitate shelter guest movement to and from the facility. Shuttle service is sought to reduce pedestrian through-traffic and make accessing public transit, resources, and appointments easier.
The nearest CapMetro bus stop is served by routes #20 and #271. Route #20 is high frequency (every 15 minutes during peak hours) and can transport a passenger from the stop nearest the Marshalling Yard to Downtown in about 15 minutes. These routes connect with the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Ruiz Library, Austin Community College, University of Texas, the Eastern Crescent, and Del Valle.
Yes, the multi-department Homeless Encampment Management (HEM) Team evaluates encampments, prioritizes, plans intervention, and manages logistics of the City of Austin’s encampment response activities. A preliminary survey of encampments near the Marshalling Yard was conducted in May 2023. The HEM Team is exploring which resources and actions – including shelter and up to enforcement – will be needed to reduce public camping in the area.
The vast majority of unhoused residents want help. Through the HEAL Initiative the City has found that about eight out of every ten (80%) of unsheltered residents will accept an offer of non-congregate bridge shelter. Bridge shelters are equipped with robust resources and afford a degree of privacy, dignity, and support that most shelter guests appreciate.
Public camping is a usually a consequence of inadequate housing, shelter, and social services. While the City and its partners are working to fund and develop a variety of new housing resources, effort is underway to expand shelter capacity to offer relief to more residents who are experiencing homelessness.
The City of Austin is engaging stakeholders from the surrounding neighborhoods to share information about the temporary shelter facility and respond to questions.
Nonprofit Operator Solicitation Opens
May 12, 2023
Austin Public Health Announces Informational Meetings
Austin Public Health issued a Press Release on May 12, 2023 inviting interested members of the public to attend and learn more about our community's effort to expand emergency shelter capacity.
Interim City Manager Publicly Announces Emergency Shelter Capacity Expansion
On May 15, the Interim City Manager published a memorandum annoucing efforts to expand shelter capacity in our community beginning with doubling occupancy at two City-owned bridge shelters and opening temporary shelter operations at the City-owned Marshalling Yard.
First Round of Public Informational Meetings
May 17, 18, 20
Operator Solicitation Closes
June 1, 2023
Nonprofit Operator to be Considered by the Austin City Council
The Austin Cicy Council approved negotiation and executation of a contract for operation of the Marshalling Yard temporary shelter on July 20, 2023.
Temporary Shelter Operations Begin
The Marshalling Yard opened its doors to unhoused residents on August 22, 2023.
Milestone: 200 Individuals Sheltered
On September 14, the Marshalling Yard reached a census of 200 individuals. Per Austin City Council direction, the census will be temporarily capped at 200 sheltered individuals pending an operations status report to City of Austin leadership.
Milestone: Marshalling Yard to Surge to 300 Bed Maximum Capacity
Following an operations status update required by the Austin City Council, staff and the shelter operator, Endeavors, will prepare to open an additional 100 beds to achieve a maximum capacity of 300 individuals sheltered.
Demobilization of Temporary Shelter
Anticipated Fall 2024.