Donors and supporters of The Salvation Army gathered on June 29 to break ground on the Rathgeber Center for Women and Children. When built, the emergency shelter will provide 63 new bedrooms for homeless women and children, with a total capacity of 213. Officials with The Salvation Army say the shelter will more than triple the city’s capacity, which currently serves about 60 homeless women and children.

In addition to bedrooms, the shelter will feature a kitchen and dining room, case management offices, a computer learning center, multiple community rooms, a children’s playground and a success closet. Sited on Tannehill Ln. in East Austin, the new shelter will be adjacent to the Austin Shelter for Women and Children. The shelter will be constructed using funds raised in a $19 million capital campaign that also provides for a community center to be built on Manor Rd.

“The need for shelter for women and children in this community is great,” says Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo. “Today we take a step toward beginning to close that gap.”

“What we sacrifice for, what we give ourselves to, what we commit to this community says everything you need to know about us,” says Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion. “We can redefine and build upon the character of what Austin really is.”

Also at the groundbreaking, Salvation Army officials announced the Women and Children’s Endowment to help with the operational expenses of the new shelter. People wishing to donate can do so at

Photo: Salvation Army officers and local dignitaries gathered to break ground on a new emergency shelter for women and children. Photo by Sherida Mock.

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