The Austin Chronicle

Naked City

May 29, 2009, News

OPENING THE GREEN DOOR During the Great Depression, when so many found themselves homeless, forced to travel cross-country in search of work, the more fortunate would paint their front doors green, as a symbol of welcome to anyone in need of a meal or a place to stay. Now, in a nod to that lost custom, Community Partnership for the Home­less has changed its name to Green Doors and is launching a new campaign to raise awareness of how families become homeless and how those more fortunate can help – the modern-day version of painting the front door green. The local advocacy organization, which has provided affordable transitional housing and support services to those in need for 19 years, is reaching out with the Tex S. Taxpayer Series of short videos, narrated by musician Ray Benson and aimed at dispelling myths about the homeless. On Wednesday, Green Doors was spreading the word with the help of Council Member Mike Martin­ez – who spoke about the effort in a morning appearance at City Hall – and about 75 volunteers stationed at intersections Downtown, holding signs encouraging passersby to learn more about homelessness. See the first Tex S. Tax­payer video and learn more at – Nora Ankrum

TRAIL BLAZING Celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6, by joining the hundreds of volunteers needed to improve the Barton Creek Greenbelt trail. The event kicks off the Walk for a Day trail project – a 35-mile hike-and-bike trail along the greenbelt being planned by the Hill Country Conserv­ancy and partners. Starting at Lady Bird Lake, the continuous trail will meander through Travis and Hays counties – urban environments, wild areas, historic Texas ranches, and wildlife habitat lands. Join the Hill Country Conservancy, Austin Parks Foundation, American YouthWorks E-Corps, and REI; work 7:30-11am on the existing trail, the first segment of the larger vision. Choose from 13 projects, including invasive-species removal and trash pickup. Then head over for a free lunch and party at Zilker Park polo fields – and perhaps a refreshing dip in Barton Springs Pool. Register in advance at – Katherine Gregor

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