Doing Good Better: Integral Care

People do good for others every day in the community surrounding Austin. At RecognizeGood, our mission is to help strengthen that community by sharing those inspiring examples.

Since 1967, Integral Care has supported adults and children living with mental illness, substance use disorder, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization’s latest project, called Terrace at Oak Springs, aims to further help their clients through affordable housing in a way that’s never before been done in Central Texas. Terrace at Oak Springs is a four-story, 40,000 square-foot community with 50 fully-furnished single occupancy efficiency units offering permanent supportive housing to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in Travis County. This community takes recovery a huge step further, because in addition to permanent supportive housing the property includes an onsite clinic that provides mental health care, primary health care and support for substance use disorder. Services are also available to adults in the community surrounding the facility who are eligible for Integral Care services.

“Integral Care believes that a home is more than four walls,” says Darilynn Cardona-Beiler, Director of Adult Behavioral Health Systems at Integral Care. “A home is the foundation to recovery. A home is the foundation for well-being. You cannot recover if you do not have a home. In our experience here at Integral Care, individuals who have moved into housing have been able to maintain their housing for a year or more at a rate of 92%. Over 50% of those individuals increased their income within their first year. The amazing part is that they start connecting with community, and they start connecting with family.”

“Every day in the city of Austin, there are about 2,000 people that are homeless give or take a hundred,” says Austin Police Department’s Assistant Chief Justin Newsom. “The only way to get to zero [homeless] is to get to fifty [recovered] first. You think about fighting a forest fire. This is putting out a small corner of that fire, but it’s still necessary to be extinguished.”

In addition to the clinic, the community features an on-site laundry facility, outdoor green space, on-site staffing 24 hours a day and on-site security cameras. “My hope,” says Newsom, “is that when the residents of Austin see how successful it is, our leaders who are in positions to make things like this happen will feel more empowered to actually do that.”

“We give you the walls,” says Cardona-Beiler. “But we know that by expanding, by bringing community, people do well and recover from mental health and substance use conditions. Because recovery is possible – we’ve seen it, it happens all the time.”

On September 23, 2019, Terrace at Oak Springs was officially unveiled to the public.

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RecognizeGood: THE Foundation (commonly known as simply RecognizeGood) is a local nonprofit that provides a means for individuals, businesses and other nonprofits to illuminate selfless volunteers, charitable acts and community service throughout the greater Austin area. There are several active RecognizeGood programs that work toward this mission from different angles, but the common theme is simple – the illumination of GOOD in our community.