Keys to the City
Nonprofit leader receives keys to the city for serving Austinites experiencing homelessness
In one of his final acts as Mayor of Austin last week, Mayor Steve Adler presented keys to the city to Jo Kathryn Quinn, President and CEO of Caritas of Austin.
Adler honored Quinn's outstanding work with people experiencing homelessness in a ceremony on January 6. The tradition dates back to medieval times, when walled cities were guarded heavily during the day and locked at night. Awarding an individual with a Key to the City is meant to confer trust and honor to the recipient, symbolizing their status as a trusted friend of the city's residents.
“There are thousands of people that deserve appreciation and thanks, I’m not sure before I was elected I fully appreciated the breadth and depth of [Homelessness as an] issue," Mayor Steve Adler said. "There are few people that rise above and take greater weight on their shoulders and for that reason, on behalf of a really grateful city, I present you, Jo Kathryn Quinn, a Key to the City.”
According to a release, Quinn has served as Caritas of Austin’s CEO and President since 2012, working tirelessly to serve thousands living in homelessness and facilitate their access to stable housing through Caritas of Austin’s proven approach to ending homelessness.
The mission at Caritas of Austin is to provide people with a stable place to call home so they can reach their full potential and contribute to the community. Apart from her leadership at Caritas, Quinn has over 30 years of nonprofit management experience, rallying community support for ending and preventing homelessness through her leadership of the Best Sings Source Plus (BSS+) Collaboration and Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO).
Community and board members, along with Caritas of Austin staff, were there to witness the ceremony at City Hall at 11 am on January 6, and Quinn acknowledged their support:
"This is about a whole team of people who across the city who are committed to ending homelessness,” she said. “I accept this key as a symbol of trust, and I accept it on behalf of everyone who’s played such a vital part in this work.”