Irit-Umani

2020 Year End Report

We started the year with an assumption that we would keep serving our un-housed neighbors just like we have done for over twenty years. We surely could not have imagined that life as we knew it would be changed radically by a virus that made it unsafe to gather in groups. We started the year being a navigation center, service provider, a church, and overall a community that would meet our brothers and sisters right where they are to help them make progress through our support, guidance, advocacy, compassion, and professional knowledge. In early March the whole country came to a standstill as it tried to figure out how to respond to the pandemic that made our previous way of operation potentially detrimental to one’s life.

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Thursdays and Fridays at Trinity

A lot of the world has moved digitally, especially during the pandemic. Public libraries used to be the go to place for most of our neighbors to access the internet, but unfortunately they are closed. Other agencies and resource centers also used to be open for use throughout the day but only a handful still allow people to drop in to use the computer. The closure of offices and government agencies has forced them to move essential services online; from social security to food stamps, almost all services people experiencing homelessness rely on have moved to either the phone or on the web. This has created a massive barrier for our neighbors as it is incredibly difficult to access these forms and websites.  

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Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Trinity

Something that a lot of us take for granted is our identification. Whether we keep it in our wallet, a safe, or an old shoe box, most of us have ready access to it when we need it. That is not a luxury most of our neighbors have unfortunately. IDs get lost, birth certificates get damaged, or your bag gets stolen and you have to get them all back. It’s another unfortunate barrier to living life on the streets. In many cases having these IDs is integral to accessing resources. You need them to check mail, enter shelters, and apply for benefits as well as housing resources in many cases. Luckily we are able to not only help people apply for or make appointments to get their documents, we also help pay for them.

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A look into Mondays at Trinity

Mondays at the Trinity Center can be a little hectic, but it is an important day for many of our neighbors. People begin lining up early before our doors open so they can get a 7 day bus pass which will take them to their medical appointments, their jobs, maybe to class, and everything else they may need to do; we don’t judge. A bus pass can make getting around our sprawling city much easier and sometimes it is the thing that gets you from one appointment to another on time, making them an essential for many. Unfortunately we can only give 80 every Monday.

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irit

October Update

It was six months ago, this week, that Trinity Center’s staff and Board of Directors made the decision to close the center which would typically serve sixty to seventy people daily. Everything around us was closing as the city of Austin, the country, and the world as a whole attempted to defeat the COVID19 pandemic. For quite a while, downtown Austin was eerie, with only our brothers and sisters who are  experiencing homeless still visible. However, what was even more visible  amongst the empty streets and shuttered businesses were the organizations like us; libraries and other churches that were now unavailable. Imagine how the summer season felt, with temperature over 100 degrees for days in a row and every place these folks called “community” no longer available for respite and for basic services. Imagine the impact these closures had on these individuals, our neighbors. 

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