Our House is a charitable non-profit created by a group of caring professionals offering their abilities and expertise in Austin’s East Riverside/East Oltorf area to raise up people residing there by participating in Community Policing, working to end poverty, hunger and homelessness, and improve community mental health. We have provided food, counseling, and needed services to students and others in this neighborhood since 2015. During these past years, we have helped hundreds of children and their family members who dwell in the 78741 zip code and adjacent areas to improve their lives.
Our House is delivering a series of important online community mental health programs during 2021 through Travis Early College High School (TECHS) in response to the COVID pandemic's reduction in in-person programs. The online programs are for students, parents, and other community members of the East Riverside neighborhood. Since there are neither community centers nor other municipal facilities available in the area, we are grateful for TECHS joining in and offering our programs benefitting the people living in Austin’s most seriously under-served area.
The student body of TECHS includes high school aged kids living in East Riverside. Of the 1,332 who attend the school, 96% are minority and 77% are economically disadvantaged. The rate of unemployment in this hard-pressed neighborhood is nearly three times worse than for citizens living in the rest of Austin. With the highest crime rate in the city, their need is great. The faculty and staff of TECHS, leaders and membership of all three neighborhood associations, and the officers of the Austin Police Department working in 78741 have been unfailingly active in and supportive of our previous in-person programs, and pledge their continued support as we make the transition to virtual information leading youths towards solutions to their problems.
To this end, we began planning and delivering programs that provided the missing services that made this community such a needy place. We have worked for years in cooperation with the Austin Police Department (APD) to diminish fear and increase trust between kids and cops by helping them engage in meaningful dialog, develop community based crime reduction, and promoting a real partnership so they might collaborate on creating a sustainable culture shift.
The need for mental health services led us to develop programs that provide these elements that were otherwise missing from the lives of those in this area. With the cooperation of TECHS, the APD, and our other collaborating partners, Our House is hard at work filling in those pieces that would provide the opportunities needed to improve the lives of these folks and place them on the pathway to prosperity and success.