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County Commissioners Agree to Sell Land for Women's Shelter

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT
Travis County Commissioners approved the sale of county-owned land today to be used for a new women and children's shelter.

The Travis County Commissioners Court finalized the sale of county-owned land in East Austin for the purpose of building a shelter to house homeless women and children today.

Travis County Commissioners unanimously approved the sale of more than 7.5 acres of property on Tannehill Lane in East Austin for the new facility, which will be operated by the Salvation Army.

Before the vote, Commissioner Brigid Shea offered her thanks to buyer Dick Rathgeber, Chairman of the Salvation Army’s Capital Campaign.

“I just want to acknowledge and particularly thank Dick Rathgeber for his generosity and his absolute determination to do whatever he can to provide housing for women and children who are in great need of those services,” Shea said. “So, thank you, and thanks to the Salvation Army for those services.”

The land, sold for $210,000, sits adjacent to the current shelter for homeless women and children, also operated by the Salvation Army.

In a statement, Salvation Army Area Commander Lt. Col. Henry Gonzalez said the purchase will help fight the “invisible crisis” of homelessness in the Austin area.

“Not only will the location of the new shelter contribute to the welcoming, campus-like environment we have cultivated for the existing shelter, this vote will also allow us to gain up to 35 percent efficiency by co-locating the facilities,” Gonzalez said. “Tens of thousands of women and children will eventually have access to services customized to meet their needs in a nurturing environment to help them move from crisis to self-sufficiency.”

According to the agreement with the county, the future addition to the shelter must maintain a secure perimeter, cannot serve any man over the age of 18 and prohibits any male relative of anyone staying at the shelter from visiting the premises. 

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