AUSTIN, Texas – A local nonprofit is helping homeless kids and young adults move into places of their own.
Life Works is continuing to build on its mission to end youth homelessness. On an average night, Life Works shelters more than 140 youths.
Each year, there are an estimated 1,600 kids and teens without a home in Austin.
For former Life Works member Franklin Fisher, life hasn't always been an easy melody.
"I was living under a bridge in Columbus, Mississippi," said Fisher.
Now Fisher plays his guitar in front of the place he's called home for the past four years.
"To move into my own apartment, I can tell you at first I cried. It was awesome. But at that point, it became like self-sufficiency," said Fisher.
Fisher’s story is an example of what Which Life Works strives for. The nonprofit helps the homeless community and those aging out of the foster care system. One way they help is by providing affordable and supportive housing.
"On any given year, there are more than 600 youth who are experiencing literal homelessness, meaning they're sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation," said Life Works CEO Susan McDowell.
Life Works is preparing to build 29 units of affordable housing at its East Austin campus adjacent to a complex with 45 units, built back in 2014.
"These will be run similarly, focused on youth who are struggling with homelessness. In particularly, youth who are aging out of foster care," said McDowell.
Fisher has a firsthand understanding of what it means to be homeless and now he encourages others to turn their lives around.
"You kind of learn about what goes on with a lot of this, and to be able to put your foot down and say I want to help these people. I want to help these children not experience that, because no one deserves to be homeless," said Fisher.
The project costs $5 million, which was made possible through community donations and multiple partnerships within the city and state.