Our Mission


LifeWorks is a fearless advocate for youth and families seeking their path to self-sufficiency. We are committed to innovative problem solving, shared accountability and a relentless focus on achieving real, sustainable and measurable results for the clients we serve.

Learn more about our programs here. 

Our Purpose

Every year, LifeWorks provides a pathway to self-sufficiency for more than 4,000 youth and families, many of whom are facing life’s most difficult challenges, including homelessness, trauma, and abuse. 

We have three core goals for our community’s youth:

Everyone deserves a home.  On any given night, we shelter or house more than 140 youth, but we know the need is much greater.  There are more than 1,600 homeless youth in Austin every year.  One of our primary goals is to End Youth Homelessness by 2020.

Everyone deserves to work.  Our youth often struggle to find their place in the workforce, so our commitment is to lower the barriers experienced by youth who have grown up in foster care or spent time on the streets through evidence-based, rapid employment.

Everyone deserves a chance to heal.  Youth in foster care are twice as likely as U.S. Iraq War veterans to experience PTSD.  LifeWorks counseling and psychiatric services offer a caring place for youth and families to address conflict and trauma so that they can move forward.

Each of LifeWorks 19 programs, as well as our collaborative, research and advocacy efforts are designed to promote these three pillars of self-sufficiency.

Our History

LifeWorks was created in 1998 through the merger of Pathways Community Counseling, Child & Family Service, Teenage Parent Council of Austin, and Youth Options.  The goal of the merger was to establish a continuum of support for youth and families experiencing crisis.  The organization started with a budget of $6 million and has grown to nearly $11 million, employing 140 professional staff and operating 7 service locations.

LifeWorks mission is fearless advocacy for youth and families finding their path to self-sufficiency. Our service philosophy is strengths-based and client-centered. Everyone who walks through our door is served with dignity and viewed through the lens of their potential and the goals they set themselves.

LifeWorks has more than 50 years' experience working with homeless youth, youth aging out of foster care, young adults and young parents. Today. LifeWorks provides 19 programs designed to bolster self-sufficiency under the categories of Housing, Counseling, and Education/Workforce. We have one of the most comprehensive continuums of housing and support options for vulnerable youth in the country, including Street Outreach, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Living, Young Parents Program, Rapid Re-Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing.  LifeWorks is active in local, state and national efforts to end youth homelessness. LifeWorks Counseling programs provide one of the largest sources of community-based and psychiatric services to children, youth and families. Education and Workforce programs provide literacy and GED classes, workforce placement and critical skill-building support. Youth and families may access one or multiple LifeWorks programs with continuity. 

LifeWorks is committed to continually improving our services and advancing our field through rigorous data collection and evaluation of our work. All transition-aged youth participate in an on-going evaluation throughout their LifeWorks journey that measures their success across 24 domains of self-sufficiency. Please see the Impact section for some of our reports.

LifeWorks Q&A