Front Steps, Inc.

No person in our community should ever have to spend the night on the streets.

Austin, TX   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Front Steps, Inc.

EIN: 74-2824054


Based on the belief that all people deserve the dignity of a safe place to call home, Front Steps’ mission is to provide a pathway home through shelter, affordable housing, and community education.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Shelia Joseph

Main address

PO Box 684519

Austin, TX 78768 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Shelter and residential care

Homeless shelters

Homeless services

Population served info


Economically disadvantaged people

Homeless people

NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

Other Housing, Shelter N.E.C. (L99)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Front Steps was formed in 1997 as the Capital Area Homeless Alliance in response to a recommendation of the Community Action Network’s 1996 Comprehensive Plan for Addressing Homelessness. Our philosophy has always been that all people deserve the dignity of a safe place to call home.\n\nFront Steps offers a continuum of services that help people transition from homelessness into housing. We have, for two decades, been selected by the City of Austin (via competitive application process) to manage the City’s downtown shelter, the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless/ARCH.\n\nIn addition to shelter services, Front Steps secures federal and philanthropic funding for programming beyond shelter operations. We expand our reach with in-kind donations to meet the needs of shelter and recently housed clients, volunteer hours, and strategic partnerships to meet essential needs.\n\nOur evidence-based programs provide direct services to approximately 4,500 people experiencing homelessness AND placemen

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Downtown Shelter: The ARCH/Austin Resource Center for the Homeless

The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) serves as the first point of entry into the homeless service system for many of Austin’s adults experiencing homelessness for the first time, as well as those who have been living on the streets for years. The ARCH is designed to assess client needs, provide information on how and where to access services, and meet the basic emergency needs of homeless adults, as well as provide a place for homeless people to rest and get out of the elements during the day. Over 4,000 individuals experiencing homelessness use Day Services or Night Shelter annually.

At the shelter downtown at 7th and Neches— our staff are providing case management to move clients from street to shelter to stable housing. The shelter is not intended to be housing, but to be a place for individuals to stay while finding a way to move into stable, secure housing. Like a bus terminal or an airport, it is part of the journey, not the destination.

The building, which opened in 2004, includes a large common-use room, showers and locker rooms, laundry facilities, a computer room, and offices for various nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless. A clinic, located on the first floor, provides health services. The second floor houses a large commercial kitchen and dining room. Located on the third floor is the 100-bed overnight shelter.

Co-located agencies make the shelter a one-stop shop where clients can receive support for health, medical, legal, employment and other needs, all under one roof. Clients are encouraged to enroll in transitional services focused on helping them move from homelessness to affordable housing.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Extremely poor people
Low-income people
Working poor

Our Recuperative Care Program is a collaboration between Front Steps and Central Health. Homeless clients who are too sick to be discharged to a shelter or the streets, but not sick enough to warrant acute hospital placement, are placed in a nursing home for the duration of their illness. Front Steps provides intensive case management to address income, housing, and self-care needs.

Following nursing home placement, clients are moved to transitional housing, with ongoing support to assist them in obtaining permanent housing and maintaining their health. Despite long periods of homelessness and lack of involvement in the social service system prior to entering the program, the Recuperative Care clients have demonstrated great success in achieving goals, such as obtaining government disability benefits, becoming clean and sober, and re-establishing contact with family, and have largely been able to remain housed and out of the hospital systems.

Population(s) Served
Working poor
Low-income people
Homeless people
Extremely poor people

Our Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) provides long-term housing with ongoing case management for clients leaving the streets/shelters and not yet able to be fully independent. Permanent supportive housing is a proven solution to homelessness for the most vulnerable chronically homeless people–pairing housing with case management and supportive services. The PSH model is evidence-based, having proved the cost/benefit of providing housing and reducing the negative consequences of drug/alcohol use rather than requiring that clients solve their problems with substance abuse, mental illness and poverty while they are still homeless. The primary goal of PSH case management is to ensure clients remain housed and do not return to homelessness. Other goals include increasing income, developing self-care skills in the areas of mental and physical health, developing positive relationships, and becoming an active and contributing member of a community.

Population(s) Served

In Austin, over 900 Veterans have been housed and Veteran homelessness is down significantly since 2011 when Veterans accounted for over 14% of the homeless population. Currently, Veterans account for less than 3% of the homeless population. Texas has the second highest concentration of veterans in the nation and Austin is one of five areas of veteran concentration in the state. In 2016 the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness certified Austin as having effectively ended Veteran Homelessness. When we say we have “functionally ended” Veteran homelessness, we have reached a point where we are housing more Veterans than those who are being identified as homeless. This means that any Veteran who becomes homeless and wants housing will move into permanent housing within an average of 90 days of connecting with our community-based response system.

Support Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is made possible with funding to Front Steps from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. SSVF provides short term, rapid rehousing assistance with intensive case management to very low-income veteran families to obtain stable permanent housing. The SSVF program focuses on intensive case management to help participants increase their ability to sustain permanent housing and reach their greatest potential. Housing Stability Specialists will work with veteran families to identify their housing stability goals such as locating affordable rental housing, obtaining or maintaining employment, budgeting, or applying for VA and public benefits. In addition to working with a Housing Stability Specialist, the SSVF program is able to provide temporary financial assistance to the veteran household for some expenses relating to housing stability.

Our Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) is funded by the US Department of Labor. We work with veterans to secure employment, refer individuals to the Veterans Administration for benefits, and provide transitional or permanent housing to veteran households. Separation from the services, an event unique to veterans, is a major life change that may precipitate homelessness when the service person is insufficiently prepared for civilian life. Difficulty readjusting to civilian life frequently precedes a period of homelessness. Lack of employment, or underemployment, has also put housing out of reach for many veterans.

“Housing for Texas Heroes” funding from the Texas Veterans Commission allows Front Steps to diversify services currently provided to very low-income, homeless Veterans and their families. This project will work alongside and provide services not currently provided by “Supportive Services for Veterans/Families” (SSVF) funding from the VA. Our SSVF program focuses on intensive case management to help participants increase their ability to sustain permanent housing and reach their greatest potential. Housing Stability Specialists work with Veterans to identify housing stability goals such as locating affordable rental housing, obtaining or maintaining employment, budgeting, or applying for Veterans Administration (VA) and public benefits. We have funding for short term, rapid rehousing assistance to very low-income veteran families to obtain stable permanent housing and temporary financial assistance to veteran’s households for some expenses relating to housing stability. Department of Labor funding for our “Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program” allows us to provide job training and placement services that allows Veterans to secure and maintain stable housing.

Services for Veterans and their families are based out of our Veterans Services Office at 2211 South IH35 Suite 301 Austin, TX 78741.

Population(s) Served

Rapid rehousing provides short-term rental assistance and services. The goals are to help people obtain housing quickly, increase self- sufficiency, and stay housed. It is offered without preconditions (such as employment, income, absence of criminal record, or sobriety) and the resources and services provided are typically tailored to the needs of the person.

Rapid re-housing is a primary solution for ending homelessness. It has been demonstrated to be effective in getting people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing and keeping them there. By connecting people with a home, they are in a better position to address other challenges that may have led to their homelessness, such as obtaining employment or addressing substance abuse issues. The intervention has also been effective for people traditionally perceived to be more difficult to serve, including people with limited or no income and survivors of domestic violence.

Research demonstrates that those who receive rapid re-housing assistance are homeless for shorter periods of time than those assisted with shelter or transitional housing. Rapid re-housing is also less expensive than other homeless interventions, such as shelter or transitional housing.

Population(s) Served

AmeriCorps is an effective private-public partnership. Grants from The Corporation for National and Community Service, are used by schools, non-profits, faith-based groups, and others to strengthen communities across the nation.

Keep Austin Housed places 35 full-time Americorps members at ten different non-profits in Austin, Texas, where they work directly with individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. Keep Austin Housed members help more than 250 individuals obtain safe, stable, and affordable housing each year. We work for Austin, and we want you to be a part of it!

Population(s) Served
Working poor
Low-income people
Homeless people
Extremely poor people
Working poor
Low-income people
Homeless people
Extremely poor people
Working poor
Low-income people
Homeless people
Extremely poor people
Working poor
Low-income people
Homeless people
Extremely poor people

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2009

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of individual clients sleeping in shelter in a year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people, Extremely poor people, Low-income people, Veterans, People with disabilities

Related Program

Downtown Shelter: The ARCH/Austin Resource Center for the Homeless

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Starting in 2020, COVID safety precautions have changed traffic patterns at shelters, we cannot maintain pre-COVID numbers for night sleep clients and still have sufficient distancing in place.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Front Steps is working to end homelessness in our community. Through our shelter services, rapid-rehousing and housing programs, recuperative care program, and permanent supporting housing work we are moving individuals from streets/shelter into stable and sustainable housing.

Front Steps currently provides assistance to persons experiencing homelessness in the following ways: 1) Shelter Services (Case Management to secure housing, Meal, Shower and Bed nightly to adult men) and day resources (basic needs center) and case management 2) Housing Services: Transitional, Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and Rapid Rehousing (RR) 3) Recuperative Care Program (extended respite for homeless individuals too sick to return to streets after hospitalization) and 4) Housing and Employment Services to Veterans (Rapid Rehousing and Employment Re-integration).

Our staff of eighty-five reached 4,250 clients last year across our core programming. Every client has unique needs when we meet them, and Housing Plans are created based on what is likely to work best. Individuals become homeless for any number of reasons—not everyone has savings, a safety net of friends or family, or skills to recover from a setback or a series of gradual losses. Solutions can be as complex as causes, and availability of deeply affordable spaces is an ever-present challenge. Still, every success motivates our staff and clients to continue to create Housing Plans and work them until success is achieved.\n\nHousing Plans are part of the work with every client. Many shelters in many places across the country were designed to be a place for sleeping so individuals weren’t on the streets. Over the years, shelters became default housing for many individuals, though that was never the intention. The goal of emergency shelter should be to focus on re-connecting people to housing as quickly as possible–Housing First.\n\n(From the National Alliance to End Homelessness) Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues. Additionally, Housing First is based on the theory that client choice is valuable in housing selection and supportive service participation, and that exercising that choice is likely to make a client more successful in remaining housed and improving their life. Housing First does not require people experiencing homelessness to address the all of their problems including behavioral health problems, or to graduate through a series of services programs before they can access housing. Housing First does not mandate participation in services either before obtaining housing or in order to retain housing. The Housing First approach views housing as the foundation for life improvement and enables access to permanent housing without prerequisites or conditions beyond those of a typical renter. Supportive services are offered to support people with housing stability and individual well-being, but participation is not required as services have been found to be more effective when a person chooses to engage. Other approaches do make such requirements in order for a person to obtain and retain housing.\n\nWith this in mind, last year Front Steps made a change in our shelter service delivery. It became a requirement that ALL clients sleeping at the shelter enroll in case management.

Front Steps has been instrumental in making the homeless population of Veterans in Austin literally solved, meaning that with the occurance of a new Veteran and their family presenting as homeless, there is a plan in place to get them housed in a matter of weeks.

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.35 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 20% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Front Steps, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Front Steps, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Front Steps, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Front Steps, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $370,248 $198,347 $600,749 -$200,408 -$594,642
As % of expenses 5.4% 2.8% 9.0% -2.4% -5.8%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $297,741 $117,680 $517,692 -$304,222 -$594,642
As % of expenses 4.3% 1.6% 7.6% -3.6% -5.8%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $7,116,329 $7,245,607 $7,373,129 $8,085,396 $9,800,885
Total revenue, % change over prior year 3.9% 1.8% 1.8% 9.7% 21.2%
Program services revenue 0.7% 0.7% 0.6% 0.4% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.4% 1.1%
Government grants 80.3% 83.2% 80.9% 79.0% 84.0%
All other grants and contributions 19.0% 16.0% 18.3% 20.2% 14.2%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.6%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $6,887,200 $7,053,056 $6,698,063 $8,285,804 $10,322,264
Total expenses, % change over prior year 6.3% 2.4% -5.0% 23.7% 24.6%
Personnel 49.7% 49.1% 53.3% 51.6% 57.9%
Professional fees 0.7% 1.2% 0.9% 2.3% 1.2%
Occupancy 6.6% 7.7% 6.3% 7.5% 7.7%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 43.0% 42.0% 39.6% 38.6% 33.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total expenses (after depreciation) $6,959,707 $7,133,723 $6,781,120 $8,389,618 $10,322,264
One month of savings $573,933 $587,755 $558,172 $690,484 $860,189
Debt principal payment $789 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $97,732 $158,164 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $7,534,429 $7,819,210 $7,497,456 $9,080,102 $11,182,453

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Months of cash 1.1 1.5 1.6 3.1 3.5
Months of cash and investments 1.1 1.5 2.2 3.6 3.5
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 1.7 1.8 2.7 2.0 0.7
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Cash $630,701 $861,251 $868,026 $2,138,041 $2,989,833
Investments $0 $0 $378,423 $380,730 $0
Receivables $688,444 $775,810 $718,387 $717,539 $921,277
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $683,718 $708,943 $865,746 $917,366 $782,809
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 70.2% 68.9% 65.9% 73.6% 71.7%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 19.6% 27.7% 15.4% 52.8% 75.6%
Unrestricted net assets $1,185,442 $1,303,122 $1,820,814 $0 $843,961
Temporarily restricted net assets $56,447 $50,651 $124,968 N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $56,447 $50,651 $124,968 $0 $0
Total net assets $1,241,889 $1,353,773 $1,945,782 $1,641,560 $1,046,918

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Material data errors No No No No Yes


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Ms. Shelia Joseph

Terra L. Harris is originally from Maryland-Baltimore. She has lead several gender responsive organizations on the east coast. She shares her early career experiences solidified her commit to impactfully support communities in her career assignments as well volunteering focuses. Terra is fully committed to leading organizations where the mission is focused on serving and supporting under resourced and underserved communities.\n\nTerra holds three degrees: an Associate of Arts; a Bachelor of Science; and Master of Science.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Front Steps, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Front Steps, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 01/23/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ms Beryl Robinson

Front Steps

Term: 2022 - 2023

Ryan Goldman

Secretary/Fortune Products

Shelia Joseph

Front Steps

Cynthia Sayles

Front Steps

Inez Aldridge

Front Steps

Eugene Crosby

Front Steps

Grace Kay

Front Steps

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/23/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/23/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.