Ground broken in East Austin for new housing for homeless youth
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An affordable place for homeless and foster care youth is under construction in East Austin, thanks to a local nonprofit.
The organization behind the project, LifeWorks, broke ground Wednesday on the apartment complex located along Pleasant Valley Road.
For 19-year-old Bryan Juarez, the groundbreaking ceremony means more than a new place to live.
“For this to happen, it's very enlightening,” he said. “It inspires hope."
Juarez is a prospective tenant of The Works. Now a LifeWorks client, the 19-year-old has aged out of the foster system.
"It's very scary, sometimes confusing, as to what happens after that," he said.
He now hopes to move into one of the new, affordable apartments at The Works.
"I want to be on my own. I want to have my own apartment,” Juarez said. “I want to have my own car."
And that’s just what LifeWorks wants for him and for the other young adults they work with.
"Within two years of aging out of foster care, up to twenty five percent of youth experience homelessness,” Susan McDowell, executive director of LifeWorks said. “It is a huge issue."
LifeWorks is addressing the issue with programs like The Works at Pleasant Valley because it's more than just providing a roof over someone's head.
"We will be providing tremendous supportive services,” McDowell said. “Job training, GED, literacy and counseling."
They work to help people who have had little support throughout their lives.
"Everyone can rely on mom or dad if they need help. We grow up without that," Juarez said.
The 45-unit complex is scheduled to be completed sometime this fall.
For more information about LifeWorks’ housing programs you can visit LifeWorksAustin.org.