With Thanksgiving right around the corner, all of us at Red Velvet Events are thinking about the things we’re thankful for. We’re not just grateful for our jobs, which allow us to do work that we find truly fun and fulfilling while giving so much joy back into the world. We’re also grateful that we’re able to live and work in such a great city, with such an amazing work family and that we can go to sleep each night with a roof over our heads. We know that not everyone is so lucky.

That’s why it’s so important to spread kindness, especially when you see someone struggling quietly. Helping others and acknowledging that people care about them, whether done publicly or privately, can really go a long way.

To this end, we want to take a few moments and talk about the homelessness issue facing the Austin community.

As you may have heard, some of Austin’s homeless camps were recently cleaned up and dismantled, and a new temporary site is opening. Since that took place, it might be easy to think that Austin’s homeless population has expanded quickly in a short period of time. But when we talk about Austin’s homeless, it’s important to remember that it’s not so much that the population has rapidly increased – it’s more that homelessness has become a lot more visible in Austin since the ban was lifted.

If we want to help erase homelessness, it’s not just about stopping the homeless camps in our city. It’s also crucial to address the factors that put people at risk for homelessness in the first place, such as:

  • The high cost of rent
  • The lack of affordable medical care
  • Easy access to drugs on the street
  • A need for job training and living wages

Many nonprofit organizations are working hard to create long-term solutions to Austin’s homelessness. Community First! Village through Mobile Loaves and Fishes – which provides housing, job training, a store where residents can sell handmade items, rental facilities for the public, a movie theater, and more – is a fantastic example of this. So is the work being done at Austin’s branch of Back on My Feet.

As members of a quickly-growing city, we cannot ignore the issue or make our city council solely responsible for creating and providing solutions. We all need to play our part in tackling this challenge in long-term and sustainable ways, and in supporting organizations that are doing this work and having a positive impact.

The truth is that homelessness may never fully disappear from a city of Austin’s size. But if we can all pitch in to find answers to the problems that force many people out of their homes, we’ll be helping them while helping Austin to become more of a caring community with a thriving society with a productive economy – a city where more of us can say, with great thanks, that they finally have a place to call home.

This November, Red Velvet Events has been collecting new household, hygiene, and children items to be donated to Caritas of Austin whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness in Greater Austin. If you are near our office on North Lamar or need an excuse to stop by for an impromptu tour, please consider donating a few items. We are collecting items until Monday, November 25th.