RISE Fund receives $15 million to provide direct relief services & financial assistance to Austinites in need
Austin, Texas – The Austin City Council recently approved allocating $15 million from the Emergency Reserve Fund to establish the City’s Relief in a State of Emergency (RISE) Fund to support COVID-19 emergency relief for Austin residents.
A resolution was also unanimously approved authorizing the use of existing contracts with social services agencies. This also provides for the initiation of new emergency contracts funded from the RISE Fund to offer immediate support services and direct financial assistance to residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.
“Getting relief to those who need it most is a critical priority,” said Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, Deputy City Manager. “In these most trying times, this is an opportunity to reaffirm our values as an organization and demonstrate our community’s commitment to helping those among us hardest hit by this pandemic.”
The RISE Fund aims to provide immediate assistance to vulnerable, lower-income populations, who may either be ineligible for other forms of State or Federal assistance. By partnering with existing social service agencies who have a demonstrated history of success in reaching vulnerable community members, the City of Austin aims to provide relief as quickly as possible.
“We have many great community partnerships in place to help us provide quick social service assistance,” said Stephanie Hayden, Director of Austin Public Health. “During this time, our community should unite to support those who may be struggling financially to meet their basic needs.”
Funding will be allocated in two forms of immediate relief:
- Direct relief services such as diapers, improving food access, case management, and assistance with rent, mortgages, utilities, medical and childcare expenses.
- Direct financial assistance such as one-time payments through pre-paid debit, gift cards or ACH transfers provided to eligible Austin residents by a social service provider.
Eligibility criteria will ensure immediate relief is provided to vulnerable community members that have experienced a significant hardship or loss of household income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Austin Public Health will work with the Equity Office to ensure funds are provided to community-based organizations providing services to our marginalized communities.
“Equity is centered as one of the anchors of our City’s strategic direction,” said Brion Oaks, Chief Equity Officer. “As we respond to the COVID-19 crisis, the role of history and its impact on outcomes for low income communities which are disproportionately communities of color in Austin cannot be ignored. These RISE funds will play a critical role in allowing those most impacted to make the decisions right for themselves and their families.”
Information about service providers receiving RISE funding will be provided in the coming days. For social services agencies that would like more information about providing immediate relief through the RISE Fund, please email RISEFunding@AustinTexas.gov.
For more information about COVID-19 resources, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.