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Home for the homeless | Apartment complex built to house homeless people

AUSTIN, Texas — Terrace at Oak Springs is still in the construction phases, but will soon be home to 50 homeless people.

Ellen Richards, the chief strategy officer with Integral Care, said, "Integral Care specifically serves people who are living with mental illness or substance use disorder or both, and half the people who live in this community will be veterans."

Richards said the single occupancy units will come fully furnished.

"In addition to it being four walls, it has aspects to it that will get them on the path to recovery," Richards said, referencing the onsite integrated healthcare clinic.

The clinic will provide primary and mental health care for those who live in the complex and for people in the community too.

"When you think about the population of people experiencing homelessness, we’re really working with those who are chronically homeless and have the most needs, so they’re the most costly to the community in terms of the use of emergency services and other public services," Richards said.

Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Justin Newsom said there is a lack of shelter space in the city for homeless people.

"When we break up camps, we tell people you can’t camp here, but we have nowhere to send them to. And so what happens is they create a new camp somewhere, and then they get told they can’t be in that spot. And so we just keep chasing this problem around the city with very few options," Asst. Chief Newsom said.

He said this complex could be a way to help homeless people gain independence and self-sufficiency.

Richards said the complex is a "Housing First" model, which offers permanent housing to address needs of homeless people.

"So someone can come and live here as long as they wish and as long as they’re eligible. And our goal really is to not only provide those four walls of a house but to provide a home with the rehabilitation supports that will really help someone reach their full potential," Richards said.

Richards said people can click here to donate supplies to help people feel more at home.


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Giving up the Ghost in Austin

Willie Nelson is credited with creating the current creative culture of Austin, Texas. (Photo by Karen Nelson)

As a child, ghosts terrified me. It didn’t help that my parents, both history teachers, dragged me to places like Colonial Williamsburg to tour endless old buildings whose halls were rumored to be haunted. Unbeknownst to me, standing in the majestic entryway of the iconic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, absorbing the opulent décor and Lone Star State hospitality, like many historic landmarks, The Driskill has some ghost stories of its own.

Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, at sunset. (Photo by Kira Maclean)

Built by Colonel Jessie Driskill, a wealthy cattle baron, to the tune of $400,000 (the equivalent of $90 million today), The Driskill has been hosting the Governor’s Ball, international dignitaries, and tourists looking for a true Texas experience since its doors opened on the corner of Brazos and Pecan (now 6th Street) in 1886.

An aspiring Texas politician named Lyndon B. Johnson met his future wife Lady Bird for a breakfast date in The Driskill dining room, beginning a life-long love affair with each other and the hotel. Today’s guests can stay in the L.B.J. Presidential Suite and dine on dry-aged steak, locally sourced vegetables, and sip the signature TX Revolver whiskey drink at The Grill.

It’s hard to imagine Austin when the only points of interest were The Driskill, the State Capital, and the University of Texas. Today, Austin is the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World,” the home to Austin City Limits and the South By Southwest festival, and the place to go for music, barbeque, food trucks, and bats. Yes, bats.

Willie Nelson is credited with launching Austin’s current culture. As the story goes, in the late ‘60s, Austin was divided into three groups–cowboys, hippies, and politicians–and not surprisingly, they did not get along. But when Willie Nelson played at the Armadillo World Headquarters, it turned out all three groups liked Willie’s music, and he encouraged them to like each other.

Over 250 eclectic live music venues populate Austin, including the well-known Antone’s, Broken Spoke, the Continental Club, and the Mohawk. If you prefer the speakeasy vibe, make a reservation at Midnight Cowboy and enter through a secret door. Or on any given night you can do what I did, and stroll out The Driskill’s front door to one of 52 bars along 6th street, and choose the one with the best music pouring into the night. Just be sure you return to The Driskill for a decadent, late night dessert at the bar.

You can’t visit Texas and not eat barbeque. There is no better place than the woman-owned la Barbeque in East Austin. After operating a food truck for five years, LeAnn Mueller and Alison Clem opened up a brick-and-mortar restaurant. La Barbeque is a whimsical and unpretentious backyard affair. On weekends you might have to wait in line, but they encourage you to have a beer and make life-long friends with the people next to you. All natural and locally sourced, I recommend sampling everything, from the mouthwatering traditional brisket, inventive sausages, ribs and pulled pork, to the hearty sides of chipotle slaw, addictive shells and cheese, and house-made pickles, a spin on Muller’s grandma’s recipe.

Barbeque is a must when in Austin. (Photo by Karen Nelson)

Austin should also dub itself the “Food Truck Capital of the World.” There are over 2000 food trucks gathered in what Austinites call food trailer parks. Craft meats, cupcakes, churros, breakfast tacos, vegan, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Creole, if you can imagine it, there’s a truck serving it.

All this eating drove me to explore the trail along the shore of Lady Bird Lake and discover the Congress Avenue Bridge, home of the largest urban bat colony. It turns out that the crevices on the underside of the limestone bridge are the perfect place for the female Mexican free-tail bat to give birth. Over 750,000 pregnant mothers arrive in March, in June their babies are born, and by August the pups are ready to fly. Arrive twenty minutes before sundown to witness 1.5 million bats darken the sky.

Bats are not the only creatures of the Austin night. While on tour, singer Annie Lennox was a guest at The Driskill. Unsure what to wear for her performance, she laid out two dresses and hopped in the shower. When she emerged, one of her dresses had been rehung in the closet.

Personally, I could use some fashion advice next time I hit the town in cowboy boots, and The Driskill, with its historic charm, perfect location and top-notch cuisine, already has my return reservation. Ghosts be damned.

The famed 6th Street in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Kira Maclean)

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New tower to add 2 hotels, nearly 280 apartments to Downtown Austin

AUSTIN, Texas — A 32-story tower is being built in Downtown Austin.

According to our partners at the Austin American-Statesman, the $170 million project will be built on Fifth and Brazos Streets.

The Statesman said the tower will add 274 new apartments to the area, along with two hotels — a "Thompson Hotel" high-end boutique and a "tommie Hotel," which is described as a "micro-lifestyle" hotel.

The building is expected to be finished late next year.


Austin’s housing market is doing great — but some neighborhoods are selling more homes than others

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5 Open Houses For You In The South Austin Area

SOUTH AUSTIN, TX — If you’re searching for a new home, there’s a good chance you’ve already browsed through all the internet listings for your area. And while you may have learned roughly what these houses are like from the images, you just can’t beat an in-person encounter with the real thing.

Ready to start hunting? To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the five newest homes on the open-house circuit in the South Austin area. That way, you can get a feel for the current offerings prior to making the big decision.

Below is an address, photo, price, home size and open-house time for each property on our list — including one in the Austin area with 4 beds and 3 baths for $1.3 million, and another in the Austin area with 2 beds and 2 baths for $540,000.

Click on any address for more pics and details. Enjoy!

Price: $739,000
Size: 1,739 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 3 baths
Open house: Saturday, February 9th at 12:00 pm

Price: $1,300,000
Size: 2,488 sq. ft, 4 beds, and 3 baths
Open house: Saturday, February 9th at 11:00 am

Price: $799,000
Size: 2,500 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 3 baths
Open house: Saturday, February 9th at 11:00 am

Price: $1,050,000
Size: 2,285 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 2 baths
Open house: Saturday, February 9th at 1:00 pm

Price: $540,000
Size: 1,453 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 2 baths
Open house: Saturday, February 9th at 12:00 pm

Still haven’t gotten your fill? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or you can always find a complete list of local open houses in Patch’s real-estate section for the South Austin area.

Photos courtesy of

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Taste Of The Nation For No Kid Hungry To Debut in Austin

AUSTIN, TEXAS — For more than 30 years, Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry events have featured food and drink from top culinary professionals in dozens of cities across the country. And now it’s coming to Austin.

The series will kick-off its 2019 season in Austin on Feb. 7 at Fair Market. Co-hosted by Austin chefs Bryce Gilmore, chef-owner of Barley Swine, and Amanda Rockman, Culinary Director of New Waterloo, the event brings together 30 of the city’s best chefs, restaurants, sommeliers and mixologists for a delicious night of bites and libations. One-hundred-percent of proceeds from the event benefit No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America.

"The fact that Taste of the Nation is kicking off in Austin is a testament to both the incredible culinary talent we have in this city and the generosity of people in the industry," Rockman, recipient of the Jean Banchet Pastry Chef of the Year Award two years in a row, said.

Both Rockman and Gilmore, finalists of the James Beard Awards, recently visited a No Kid Hungry school breakfast program. For Gilmore it hit home: "I have children and I’m a chef, so the notion that 1 in 6 kids in this country don’t know if they will get 3 meals a day is unfathomable – and something we can all work together to end."

To date, the line-up features some of Austin’s finest:

Barley Swine | Contigo | Dolce Neve Gelato | ELM Restaurant Group | Goodall’s Kitchen at Hotel Ella | Guild | II Brutto | Independence Brewing Co. | Juniper | Kemuri Tatsu-ya |La Condesa | Launderette | Le Politique | Lick Honest Ice Creams | Loro Asian Smokehouse | Odd Duck | Parkside Projects | Pitchfork Pretty | Salt Traders Coastal Cooking | South Congress Hotel | Sour Duck Market | Sway Thai | Swift’s Attic |Ramen Tatsu-ya | Trace | Uchi | Uchiko

Austin’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 at Fair Market, East 5th Street, Austin, TX 78702. Early bird tickets are currently available and start at $100. Austin’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry is supported by national co-presenting sponsors Citi and Sysco®, national media sponsor Food Network, and national sponsorOpenTable.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit:

About Taste of the Nation

Every year, the country’s best chefs, sommeliers and mixologists join together with one goal in mind: end childhood hunger in America by supporting Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry presented by Citi and Sysco®. In more than 20 cities across the nation, guests of Taste of the Nation can sip and sample gourmet creations from each city’s premier culinary talent and participate in unique food, travel and lifestyle auctions – all while raising funds for No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength’s campaign to end childhood hunger in America. Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has raised more than $100 million.

About No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger nationwide by ensuring every kid gets three meals a day. Since the campaign’s launch in 2010, No Kid Hungry and its partners have provided over one billion meals to kids.

>>> Image via Shutterstock

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Downtown Austin: 5 Open Houses To Stop By (PICS)

DOWNTOWN AUSTIN, TX — Looking at housesup for sale on the internet can make you feel like you’re going in circles. While listing images can help, they’re no stand-in for the real thing. That’s where open houses come in handy: No more bumbling around in the dark!

Ready to see what’s out there? For your convenience, we’ve made a list of the five most recent open houses scheduled in the Downtown Austin area. That way, you can get a feel for the current offerings without committing to a house blindly.

Below is an address, photo, price, home size and open-house time for each property on our list — including one in the Austin area with 4 beds and 4 baths for $2.5 million, and another in the Austin area with 1 bed and 1 bath for $549,000.

Want more information on one of the listings? Just click on any address to learn more. Happy house hunting!

Price: $2,500,000
Size: 4,919 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 4 baths
Open house: Sunday, January 13th at 2:00 pm

Price: $1,499,000
Size: 3,141 sq. ft, 4 beds, and 4 baths
Open house: Saturday, January 12th at 12:00 pm

Price: $1,300,000
Size: 4,088 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 4 baths
Open house: Sunday, January 13th at 1:00 pm

Price: $549,000
Size: 650 sq. ft., 1 bed, and 1 bath
Open house: Sunday, January 13th at 1:00 pm

Price: $639,500
Size: 1,117 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 2 baths
Open house: Saturday, January 12th at 12:00 pm

Still want to see more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or check out our full list of nearby open houses in our real-estate section for the Downtown Austin area.

Photos courtesy of

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South Austin: 5 Latest Homes To Hit The Market

SOUTH AUSTIN, TX — Looking for a new home, and want to get a better feel for what’s available near you? Need some help in your search? With our weekly list of new homes in your area, you can stay on top of the scene.

Below, you’ll find the five newest properties to hit the housing market in the South Austin area — including one in the Austin area with 1 bed and 2 baths for $359,000, and another in the Austin area with 2 beds and 2 baths for $597,000.

Looking for more information on one of the listings? Just click on any address to learn more. Enjoy!

Price: $537,900
Size: 1,061 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $450,000

Price: $597,000
Size: 1,349 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $359,000
Size: 1,195 sq. ft., 1 bed, and 2 baths

Price: $489,000
Size: 973 sq. ft., 1 bed, and 1 bath

Hungry for more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or check out our South Austin area real-estate section for a full list of local homes.

Photos courtesy of

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Austin’s first elected Hispanic mayor Gus Garcia passes away at age 84

photo credit: AISD (12-17-18)

AUSTIN,Texas (FOX 7 Austin) – Political trailblazer Gus Garcia, the first Hispanic elected to the Austin ISD Board of Directors, and the city’s first elected Hispanic mayor has died.

Garcia has been a major force in Austin politics for decades.

He was first elected to the Austin Independent School District board in 1972. Garcia served on the Austin City Council for more than 10 years and on the Austin school board for six years. He helped integrate schools and end housing discrimination. He served on the school board, opposing discrimination and pushed for more minorities to be hired in the schools.

In 1991 Garcia was elected to the Austin City Council. He was re-elected to council in 1993 and 1997. Then in 2001, he became Austin’s first Hispanic mayor, serving until 2003.

Garcia was born in the border town of Zapata in 1934, where his father ran a small grocery store. Garcia met his wife Marina Gonzalez in Laredo and they married in 1957. Shortly after, the couple moved to Austin where Garcia enrolled at the University of Texas.

“We feel a community-wide heavy heart as a one of our greatest Austin giants moves on,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler posted on Twitter. “Mayor Garcia focused our city as no one had setting us on a course to seek equity and justice for all of Austin. I will miss my friend and teacher.”

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk released a statement Monday.

"Mayor Gus Garcia was an extraordinary public servant. All of us should strive to emulate Mayor Garcia’s dedication to Austin.”

Garcia is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Marina Gonzalez, and by their three sons and five grandchildren.

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Realtor of the Week: Paisley helps buyers, sellers navigate real estate needs

The real estate industry is rapidly changing to serve clients smarter and better, due to so much new technology at your fingertips and new models on how to use it more efficiently.

“Buying and selling a home is complex and complicated, and we as professional Realtors are able to offer more education and trusted advice to the consumer than ever before,” said Susan Arnoldy Paisley, a Realtor with John Daugherty, Realtors.

Paisley’s focus area is mainly inside the Loop, in communities such as River Oaks and West University.

“However, I also assist clients in other areas that I am familiar, such as The Woodlands, Bellaire, etc.” Paisley said.

This is an excellent time to buy a house, since buyers can enjoy the Homestead exemptions if purchased prior to Dec. 31. Plus, there are many homes on the market.

Paisley hails from West Texas and has been in Houston since 1975.

Prior to real estate she had a successful personal training business.

“My husband encouraged me to move into real estate, but I resisted it. But after looking more closely at this industry, I obtained my licenses. It is the best thing I have ever done. I love what I do, and I love working with my clients,” Paisley said.

Skills for success

The skills that helped make her a success in her previous career are the same that have assisted her in being a Top Producer for 13 of the 16 years she has been in real estate.

As a personal trainer, Paisley focused on her clients, got to know them to understand their goals, worked long hours, educated her clients, was flexible, and service oriented. These skills transitioned easily into real estate.

Paisley graduated from the University of Texas, Austin with an art degree, giving her an eye for aesthetics to help her sellers prepare their home for sale and help her buyers see what a space could become.

She has also continued her education and holds many certifications, such as Certified Negotiation Expert.

Paisley is known for being a hard worker, honest, straightforward, thinking outside of the box, getting things done, and passionate.

Earlier this year, Paisley partnered with Eric Pham, 28, who was the youngest Realtor to receive the award, 20 Under 40 Rising Stars, when he was 26.

‘Great partnership’

“Between us, we have 22 years of real estate experience, and together we are able to cover a broad spectrum of services for our clients. It is a great partnership,” she said.

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WWII Vet, Pilot Die After Vintage Craft Crashes In Texas (Update)

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Two people, one of them a military veteran, aboard a World War II-era airplane died after the aircraft crashed into an apartment complex parking lot in Fredericksburg, Texas, on Saturday afternoon.

Gillespie County sheriff’s officials got the emergency call at around 3:15 p.m. The crash occurred off Friendship Lane, according to reports. Two people reportedly were on board the aircraft at the time of the crash, but it remained unclear late Saturday if there are any fatalities or injuries.

The downed aircraft is a WWII vintage P-51D Mustang fighter, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials. According to reports, several vehicles in the parking lot of the apartment complex were damaged.

Officials at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg confirmed the deaths of two people in the crash. Museum officials initially reported both were veterans, later correcting their statement to not just one of those killed held that distinction.

The pilot killed was identified on Sunday as Cowden Ward, Jr., of Burnet, according to a Facebook post. Pecos Bill P-51 Freedom Flyers posted news of Ward’s death, noting his demise "…has left all of his friends and family heartbroken." Ward, a member of the group posting on Facebook, offered free rides to veterans in vintage planes, according to officials.

"We hope that everyone will remember his infectious smile, his passion for flying our nation’s veterans, and above all remember him for the amazing pilot, friend and caring person he was," the statement read.

Although the identify of his passenger has not been disclosed, the post noted he was a World War II veteran and former B-17 pilot.

According to a Facebook event page, the museum was hosting a two-day Pacific Combat Program that started Saturday at 2 p.m. Saturday about an hour before the crash.

"Tanks, explosions, landing craft and flamethrowers! Living History Reenactments in the Pacific Combat Zone put you on the front line," museum officials wrote in describing the event. "The Pacific Combat Zone comes alive with the sights and sounds of combat on scheduled weekends throughout the year. Army, Navy and Marine re-enactors move in to capture fortified positions from Japanese defenders, employing landing craft, explosives and flamethrowers… and you are there!"

The plane had performed during a flyover as part of the living history show staged by the museum, officials later confirmed. The tragedy occurred as the museum was gearing up to launch a fundraising drive ten days from the incident to preserve World War II veterans’ stories.

Help us keep their stories alive by donating on #GivingTuesday November 27th. Your donation will help us educate and impact the future and insure that the Greatest Generation will never be forgotten. #TurnYourTuesday #pacificwarmuseum— Pacific War Museum (@PacWarMuseum) November 17, 2018

The names of the deceased had not been released as of Sunday afternoon. The town of Fredericksburg is just under 80 miles west of Austin and 70 miles north of San Antonio.

We are saddened by the unfortunate accident that happened this afternoon that claimed the lives of two veterans. At this time we have no further information.— Pacific War Museum (@PacWarMuseum) November 18, 2018

>>> Image via Shutterstock

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