As SXSW expands, so does the Austin food truck scene. This year, several new mobile food carts are making their way around downtown. Street Treats carts were created by Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a non-profit that provides food to those in need.
"We can go where the crowds are so it provides our vendors an even greater opportunity," said Nate Schlueter with Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
Those vendors working the food cart-bikes are homeless.
"Basically we're releasing opportunity for homeless vendors to come, work the carts for the day and enjoy all the profits, all the tip for a hard day's work. They get to be their own mini business owner for the day. They pay us back the wholesale price of the items and they get all the profits, all the tips so it's a great opportunity for them to go out in the community and serve us with dignity," Schlueter said.
Dan Duhon came to Austin after he lost his home in Louisiana during Hurricane Rita.
"I've been homeless about a year now. And it's hard, it's like a trap, to get back on your feet once you're off," he said.
This isn't the first innovative idea to help Austin's homeless make a little money during SXSW. Last year, an agency out of New York hired Austin homeless people and turned them into Wi-Fi access points dubbed "homeless hotspots." Not everyone supported that idea, but most people we spoke with seem to be on board with this one.
"We have people releasing music, people releasing movies, new technology and apps. We think as a non-profit in the city we should release opportunity to these guys that don't get the same opportunity that you and I do every day," said Schlueter.
The Street Treats carts are made possibly through donations to Mobile Loaves & Fishes and from sponsors. Mobile Loaves & Fishes hopes to eventually have 20 Street Treat carts. Find out where the carts are by following them on Twitter @StreetTreatsATX.