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December 15, 2023

Caritas of Austin: Alleviating Homelessness and Creating a Connected Community

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In each of our cities, Google Fiber works with incredible community partners and organizations on digital inclusion and equity issues. In Texas, we’re working with Caritas of Austin to help bring fast, reliable internet to the residents of Espero at Rutland, an affordable and supportive housing community and our newest Gigabit Community. GFiber is providing access to high speed internet and digital literacy classes at no cost to residents. In today’s guest post, Rachel Hanover, Deputy Director of Espero Rutland Housing Services shares what this represents for this community.


At Caritas of Austin, we believe all people deserve to have their basic needs met and a stable place to call home. We use a multi-layered approach to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring in Central Texas by helping the unhoused population attain proper housing, employment, education, food and a supportive community.

As technology advances and society transitions to “paperless,” an internet connection is vital for finding permanent housing, applying for jobs and accessing other supplemental benefits like unemployment, food assistance  and health insurance. But for tens of millions of Americans, a high-speed internet connection is a luxury they can’t afford. This barrier makes life considerably more challenging to navigate, which is especially true for people experiencing homelessness.

Espero Rutland

In a joint venture to help unhoused individuals find permanent housing, we partnered with The Vecino Group and Austin Housing Finance Corporation to develop Espero Rutland, an affordable and intensely supportive housing community that is scheduled to open early next year.

Espero Rutland consists of 171 studio apartments and features many amenities, including an indoor community room, business center, gym and yoga studio, community dining room, and an outdoor courtyard area with lawn games, gazebo, BBQ stations and community garden. 

We employ onsite case managers who work closely with residents to curate a personalized plan to help them manage personal finances, develop vocational skills and apply for supplemental benefit programs. To offer these services, it is imperative that residents have a stable internet connection. 

Creating a connected community with Google Fiber

Caritas of Austin is excited to partner with Google Fiber to provide access to a free, high-speed internet connection to every residential unit and property amenity at Espero Rutland. This partnership, which is part of GFiber’s Gigabit Communities program, will support broadband internet free of charge to very low income households. 

In addition to providing internet services at no cost to residents of Caritas Espero Rutland, GFiber will help to provide laptops and digital literacy classes to our residents. The virtual and onsite classes will help residents learn how to use their new laptops to access job applications, healthcare and supplemental benefits. 

At Caritas of Austin, we are committed to ending homelessness by creating a connected, supported community. Homelessness is a complex issue with no “one size fits all” solution. Through partnerships with local organizations like GFiber, we can help our clients build a solid foundation for their future. 

Empowering those experiencing homelessness,transforms individual lives, which contributes to the overall well-being of society–building a stronger, more connected community for everyone. 
Posted by Rachel Hanover, Deputy Director of Espero Rutland Housing Services