"Austin Interfaith leaders mobilized members to show up en masse to city budget hearings to plug these programs, meet with council members and bombard council offices with calls and emails in the days leading up to the final budget vote.
The nonprofit was elated that council members agreed to spend money on all of Austin Interfaith’s priorities, totaling $2.4 million.
Austin Interfaith and the parks coalition “were effective because they were very diverse, broad-based groups that had a clear message: that as a world-class city, we should be able to fund some of these critical needs better,” City Council Member Kathie Tovo said."
Organized Groups Won the Day in Austin Budget Vote, Austin American Statesman
"The Austin City Council has adopted its budget for the next fiscal year. For the first time in more than a decade, the council lowered Austin’s tax rate, [putting] the budget for next fiscal year just under $800 million. It is money that will bolster five initiatives Reverend Sandy Jones and Austin Interfaith advocated for. Jones is especially grateful for an additional $350,000 that will restart after-school programs... They're programs that were slashed during the recession and are just now being restored. "They do listen, and they do trust us with the ideas that we bring to them," Jones said. "It showed that they care about our youth. They care about the instruction of the youth in our community."Austin City Council Adopts New Budget, Austin YNN Austin Interfaith Recognizes Council For Investing in All Priorities, Austin Interfaith
"The Launchpad Fund, which gave nonprofits $10 million starting in the 2010-11 biennium to support career training programs for low-income students, will be replaced by the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Grant program. The ACE grant program will award about $5 million under a similar model to nonprofits for the next biennium. It will be administered by Austin Community College, which will step into the comptroller's office's current oversight role....
Said Minerva Camarena-Skeith, a representative of Austin Interfaith, the nonprofit that helped found Capital IDEA with business community members and advocates for public funding: “It still gives these job-training programs the opportunity to apply for these $5 million, and also be able to leverage more city and local funds.”
[Photo Credit: Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune]
Job Training Program Adjusts Amid Funding Cuts, Texas Tribune
Governor Signs Bill: $5 Million for Adult Career Training, Network of Texas IAF Organizations
"Interviews with current and former public officials, real estate experts and citizen activists suggest that Austin has simply lacked the political will to do things differently. “We have very laudable standards on the environment and are willing to go to bat, even to war on those issues,” said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, a leader with Austin Interfaith, which supports some form of rental registration. “To go to war for the poor, that type of will is not embedded here....”
Why 'Progressive' Austin Failed to Address Substandard Rental Housing, Austin American Statesman
Churches Forgo the Hammer on Housing, USA Today
"The switch at Travis Heights has been in the making for nearly three years. Austin Interfaith, a coalition of schools, churches and unions, and district labor group Education Austin ...reached out to 100 campuses before they found a partner in Travis Heights willing to become a charter. Their volunteers then went door-to-door, garnering support and hosting school meetings to find out what parents and teachers wanted in a school. They reached 90 percent of the school’s households and got 99 percent support from parents and 97 percent support from staff...."
[Photo Credit: Ralph Barrera, Austin American Statesman]
Switch to Charter Means More Innovation at Travis Heights, Austin American Statesman
“Texas officials have declined to establish a state-based health insurance marketplace, a major provision of the federal Affordable Care Act. So private organizations are working to educate Texans about coverage options through the federal health insurance exchange, which opens on Oct. 1….The [USHHS] department will also finance at least two “navigators” — organizations intended to guide people through the exchange — per state.
But Jacob Cortes, the lead organizer of the group Austin Interfaith, said that might not be enough. ‘The private sector would have to step up,’ he said.”
Promoting Health Insurance, With No Help From State, New York Times
Religious leaders from multiple denominations will launch an interfaith campaign for comprehensive immigration reform
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 10am
at St. Ignatius Catholic Church on 126 W. Oltorf Street.
The interfaith prayer service and press conference, organized by key leaders from religious denominations across Central Texas, will feature a common statement on shared principles for immigration reform and strategy to encourage legislators in Washington to vote for reform.
Sheets’ decision to focus on other legislation pleased Austin Interfaith, a coalition of congregations and social justice groups that has been pushing for the living-wage requirement. At the organization’s request, members of its Dallas-area counterpart and representatives of the Dallas affiliate of the Workers Defense Project met with Sheets, asking him to drop his legislation and citing, among other reasons, a desire for local control in such matters, said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, an Austin Interfaith leader.
"I think we have a very balanced approach that is good for the city, the taxpayers, companies and contractors,” said Bob Batlan, a member of Temple Beth Shalom and Austin Interfaith involved in the living-wage discussions. “I’m pleased that (Sheets) recognizes the balanced approach.”
Legislator Backs Off Bill to Ban Living Wage Requirement, Austin American Statesman
“National Instruments Corp. won approval Thursday for $1.7 million in city of Austin incentives to support the company’s proposed expansion of 1,000 Austin jobs over the next 10 years….
The deal was praised by representatives of Austin Interfaith because the company agreed to a floor wage of $11 an hour for all jobs, including construction jobs tied to the project. The company also agreed to work with contractors to ensure that construction workers on the project will be covered by worker’s compensation insurance.”
City OK’s $1.7 Million in Incentives to National Instruments, Austin American Statesman
In the face of opposition from prominent Texas Republicans and Gov. Rick Perry, an increasing number of local government officials are urging legislators to expand Medicaid and obtain a federal funding windfall....Last week, the Travis County Commissioners Court tweaked a Feb. 19 resolution calling for a Medicaid expansion to satisfy its lone Republican member. That bipartisan support was “absolutely critical,” said Oralia Garza Cortes, a leader with Austin Interfaith, an advocacy group. Sister organizations in Dallas and Bexar counties helped pass similar resolutions.
On Tuesday, a group of Medicaid recipients and uninsured Texans is planning to rally at the Capitol in support of expanding the program."
Local Officials Lobby GOP Leaders to Rethink Medicaid Expansion, Austin American Statesman