[en español abajo]
Travis County Emergency authorities have now opened up three more shelters for anyone in need. They are looking to open up more if they can find more volunteers (see info on volunteering below). Below are the three shelters that are now open for all individuals or families needing shelter. Shelters will remain open 24/7 and will continue to operate for as long as there is a need. Please be careful on the roads - and drive slowly.
If you choose to go to a warming center/shelter, bring blankets and food with you if possible:
- Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road (Central Austin)
- Mendez Middle School, 5106 Village Square Drive (Southeast Austin)
- Northeast (formerly Reagan) High School, 7104 Berkman Drive (Northeast Austin)
If you need a ride to one of these shelters you can contact Austin Disaster Relief Network at 512-825-8211 or 211.
Also here are emergency numbers to share widely:
- Shelter Information: 512-305-4233
- Emergency Food: 211
- Medical Emergency: 911
The Austin Disaster Relief Network is in need of volunteers so they can open more shelters. Volunteers will assist in greeting/checking in people who arrive. AISD is willing to open more facilities but they don’t have the people-power. The volunteers do not need to be previously trained. Please call ADRN at 512-825-8211 to volunteer.
Please call one of the CTI Organizers if you have any questions:
- Doug Greco - 512-484-0590 (Travis and Williamson Co)
- Monique Vasquez - 520-248-8853 (Travis and Bastrop Co)
- Catherine Wicker - 512-771-9691 (Hays Co)
- Liz Ligawa - 254-292-8484 Waco and College Station
Las autoridades de emergencia del condado de Travis han abierto tres refugios más para cualquier persona que lo necesite. Quieren abrirse más pero necesitan encontrar más voluntarios (consulte la información sobre voluntariado a continuación). Hay tres refugios que ahora están abiertos para todas las personas o familias que necesitan refugio. Los refugios permanecerán abiertos las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana y seguirán funcionando durante el tiempo que sea necesario. Tenga cuidado en las caminas - y maneje lentamente.
Comparta esta información por favor.
- Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road (el centro de Austin)
- Mendez Middle School, 5106 Village Square Drive (sureste de Austin)
- Escuela secundaria Northeast (Reagan), 7104 Berkman Drive (noreste de Austin)
Si elige ir a un centro de calentamiento/refugio, lleve con usted cobijas y comida si es posible.
Si necesita que lo lleven a uno de estos refugios, puede comunicarse con Austin Disaster Relief Network al 512-825-8211 o 211.
También aquí hay números de emergencia para compartir ampliamente.
- Información de refugios: 512-305-4233
- Comida de emergencia: 211
- Emergencia médica: 911
Austin Disaster Relief Network necesita voluntarios para abrir más refugios. Los voluntarios ayudarán a saludar / registrar a las personas que lleguen. AISD quisiera abrir más ubicaciones, pero no tienen suficiente gente para hacerlo ahorita. Los voluntarios no necesitan formación previa. Por favor llame a ADRN al 512-825-8211 para ser voluntario.
Y llame a uno de los organizadores de CTI si tiene alguna pregunta:
- Doug Greco - 512-484-0590 (Travis and condado de Williamson)
- Monique Vasquez - 520-248-8853 (Travis and condado de Bastrop)
- Catherine Wicker - 512-771-9691 (condado de Hays)
- Liz Ligawa - 254-292-8484 Waco y College Station
Fr. Paul Skeith from SoCo Episcopal Community and CTI spoke at the Travis County Commissioners Court this week to advocate that any private company receiving public tax subsidies from the county pay living wages, benefits, a career track, and strategy to hire locally. The Court subsequently adopted these and other worker safety measures as part of a package advocated by CTI congregations and member institutions including Workers Defense Project, LIUNA, and Central Texas Building Trades.
On Tuesday the Travis County Commissioners Court held a discussion on “Project Silicon Silver,” widely speculated to be the alias for chipmaking giant Samsung’s development contract. The discussion centered around acceptance of the preliminary application, along with a corresponding $150,000 fee paid out to the county by the developer.
The county is considering providing financial benefits in exchange for Samsung’s adherence to worker protection, wage, compensation, OSHA requirements and more.
Several citizen callers also stressed the need for county stipulations, including a living wage indexed to cost of living, local employee minimums and health insurance benefits for employees.
Father Paul Skeith of SoCo Episcopal Community advocated for all of the above issues, in addition to the opportunity for employees to rise within the company.
Jessica Wolff with Workers Defense Project highlighted the strengths of the development standards, citing the local hiring requirement, construction training requirement and anti-retaliation provisions, and called for the standards set in this policy to become the county norm.
”We recognize this is a great first step and there’s still more work to be done,” Wolff said.
CTI leaders Ruby Roa of SoCo Episcopal and Trenton Henrichson of St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church advocated at Austin City Council this week for Austin to maximize affordable housing and public benefits for the city-owned redevelopment project at the former downtown Health South rehabilitation facility.
Councilmembers Tovo and Harper-Madison worked together to unanimously pass measures stipulating, among other community benefits, that "the central use of this tract is to be housing, specifically affordable housing."
[Photo Credit: HealthSouth Building/KXAN]
Bastrop Interfaith / Central Texas Interfaith leader Edie Clark was featured in a KUT story this week on the barriers marginalized communities in Bastrop face in accessing the COVID Vaccine. Ms. Clark cited the digital divide, need for better communication, and mistrust communities like Stony Point feel as a result of anti-immigrant policies of the Bastrop Sheriff.
[Photo Credit: Gabriel C. Perez, KUT]
As Bastrop County Builds Vaccination Hub 'From Scratch,' Groups Focus on Dismantling Barriers, KUT Radio, Austin's NPR Station [pdf]
Central Texas Interfaith & Allies Call on State and Local Governments to Beat December Deadline for Coronavirus Rental Relief
Before the pandemic, Maria Ramirez (in photo above) and her husband made more than enough money to afford their two-bedroom apartment in Dallas. Now, they owe $4,000+ in back rent and late fees. When they applied for local aid, they were denied.
"For four months, millions of these funds have wafted around the corridors of City Hall while each day vulnerable families are threatened with evictions," said Jon Lee, a retired pastor of King of Glory Lutheran Church and leader with Dallas Area Interfaith.
Texas IAF leaders across the state are working with local elected officials to spend down millions in assistance dollars that they leveraged earlier this year. Onerous online application processes and excessive documentation requirements hampered access to available assistance for the most vulnerable. Warned Rev. Michael Floyd of Central Texas Interfaith, "Families who lost employment are racking up months of unpaid rent and as eviction moratoriums end, they will be forced out of their homes."
Texas IAF leaders and allies are also calling on the Governor to draw down available funding for rental assistance for smaller cities. If not spent by the end of the year, unspent dollars will have to be returned to the US Treasury.
Says Rev. Jaqueline Hailey, of TMO, “The CDC order create[d] a welcomed pause in evictions in this area, but it is only a half-measure because all rents and late fees will continue to pile up and be due when the moratorium expires on December 31.”
[Photo Credit: Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News]
Thousands Evicted in Houston Area Before Eviction Moratorium, Rental Assistance, Texas Catholic Herald [pdf]
TMO Call[s] on Leaders to Halt Evictions, Congress to Pass Next Stimulus Bill, Houston Chronicle [pdf]
"Talarico also might have gotten a boost from efforts from Central Texas Interfaith, a network of churches, synagogues and other religious organizations that held its own non-partisan get-out-the-vote campaign.
The group targeted voting precincts with historically low voter turnout and church presence with a phone campaign aimed at individuals the organization identified as low propensity voters. By the end of early voting, they saw marked increases in 16 of the 17 precincts they targeted across the Austin area. Those included Williamson County precincts in Talarico’s district as well as State Rep. John Bucy III’s district. Bucy, D-Austin, also won re-election Tuesday.
Rev. Miles R. Brandon II, of St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church in Round Rock, said many of the people they contacted found it refreshing that they were being asked only to vote and weren’t being sold a particular candidate or political party.
“We don’t talk to people about candidates, but we talk to them about issues,” Brandon said. “I think, we don’t get hung up as much because we don’t represent a party or candidate.”
Of the nearly 18,000 people contacted, about 9,500 of them ended up casting a vote by the end of early voting, according to Central Texas Interfaith. Several candidates on the ballot who worked with the network of congregations, including Talarico, Bucy and State Rep. Vikki Goodwin, won their respective races."
Suburban Swing: Once Reliably Red, Williamson Voters Back Both Biden, Cornyn, Austin American Statesman
Increasing participation in the political process is at the heart of Bastrop Interfaith’s mission as Election Day approaches.
A nonpartisan, multi-issue organization, Bastrop Interfaith is part of a larger organization called Central Texas Interfaith, which works to address public issues that affect members of different communities.
Made up of community institutions like churches, neighborhood associations and public school groups, Bastrop Interfaith pulls together community members to address common issues.
A large part of this effort, according to Edie Clark, a Bastrop County resident and leader with Bastrop Interfaith, is developing leaders within local communities so people have the skills and opportunities to engage with public officials about salient topics.
This year, that means informing as many county residents as possible about the issues at hand for the election, and where different local and state candidates stand on them.
[County Map Courtesy of Bastrop County]
Bastrop County Nonprofit Works to Increase Voter Participation in Low Turnout Area, Austin American Statesman [pdf]
While labor rights activists support Tesla’s stated commitment to a minimum wage of $15 an hour, substantially above Austin’s $7.25, the agreement sheds no light on which workers this standard applies to. The average hourly rate for manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is $22.
“The fear is that a company like Tesla keeps its high-level creative jobs in places like the Bay Area and begins to see Austin like a low-wage, high-tech town,”
said Doug Greco, lead organizer of Central Texas Interfaith, representing a coalition of nonprofit groups in Austin.
[Photo Credit: Cyber Truck: Tesla; Map: Lasagnaforone / Getty]
Central Texas Interfaith & Austin Apartment Association Call for $100 Billion in Emergency Rental Relief
After distributing $1.2 million in May, the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department announced Tuesday $17.75 million will be available to help renters in the second round of the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Program.
The city will use a lottery system to pick funding recipients, so for people like Carlota Garcia with Central Texas Interfaith, the worry is about those who won’t get picked.
“No longer are we able to borrow from friends or borrow from family, savings accounts have been pillaged, there is no cushion left for people,” she said. “This moment has the potential to become disastrous.”
She said the state and the federal government should create a plan that gets those in need help beyond the next six months.
“In order for us to be able to prevent families from falling into starvation, or worse, we really need to have the federal government step up, as well as the statewide government..."
[Photo: Footage by KXAN]
Joint Statment on Emergency Rental Relief, Central Texas Interfaith & Austin Apartment Association