WilCo charity adds clients pushed out by Austin's high cost of living

Williamson County is starting to see some big city problems. Rising rents are forcing families out into the country in search of cheaper housing. One non-profit is reaching out to help struggling families all across the county. (KEYE TV)

Williamson County is really booming nowadays. There's great sight-seeing, great food and great shopping. But the shopping isn't nearly as fabulous when you're not sharing in the economic boom.

The thrift store at The Caring Place in Georgetown is the place to shop when money is tight, and your purchase also helps fund important services for a growing number of families in need. Volunteer Pet Clark explains, "Whatever they need, they just need to qualify for it. That's all."

Ginna O'Connor is executive director of The Caring Place. She notes, "We are seeing more people coming in presenting for services from rent to food to clothing to assistance with utilities and medical needs. So we are seeing an increase in need for services."

Their newest service is free box fans for people who need help cooling down in the summer months. The Caring Place helps folks who moved to Williamson County to escape the high cost of living in Austin and discovered the problem had followed them there. Client Services Director Erin Becnel says, "People used to be able to pay $800 for rent here. Now we're seeing rent $1200-$1300, a lot of people crammed into smaller apartments."

Now families are considering leaving Georgetown for cheaper housing in Jarrell, Florence and Granger. So The Caring Place is starting outposts there to continue serving them. O'Connor says, "We know that transportation can be a barrier for services so that's one of the things we wanted to address along with knowledge about services and access to services."

You can help The Caring Place provide these services with a financial donation or donate something they can sell in their thrift store.

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