Saturday, February 17, 2024

City of Austin Activates Cold Weather Shelters on Saturday, Feb. 17  

 


Finding the status of shelters by calling 512-972-5055
 

AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin is opening overnight cold weather shelters on Saturday, Feb. 17. Registration for shelter will occur between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at One Texas Center (OTC), 505 Barton Springs Road, which will act as the central embarkation point for individuals seeking an overnight shelter.   

The City shared its plans to community partners who work directly with Austin’s unsheltered population and texted information directly to unsheltered individuals who are registered with the City’s recently launched text alert system.   

The Homeless Strategy Office determines when to activate cold weather shelters no later than 9 a.m. each day using National Weather Service (NWS) projections for the Camp Mabry Location. These projections may be accessed via the NWS website and entering the 78703 zip: 
7-Day Forecast 30.27N 97.74W (weather.gov). The Homeless Strategy Office activates cold weather shelters if the forecast is predicted to be 32 degrees or colder overnight, 35 degrees or colder overnight with precipitation, or 35 degrees or colder overnight with wind chill of 32 or colder.   
 

How to Access a Cold Weather Shelter    

Registration for shelter occurs between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at One Texas Center (OTC), 505 Barton Springs Road. Bus routes to OTC are lines: 1, 7, 10, 20, 30, 105, 142, 801. Anyone seeking a cold weather shelter and does not have the means to pay the fare will still be given a ride. CapMetro partners with the City to transport individuals from OTC to a shelter location. 

While Cold Weather Shelters are primarily accessed by people experiencing homelessness, they are available to anyone needing a warm place to spend the night. Individuals can get information about access and activation by calling the Cold Weather Shelter Hotline - 512-972-5055. 

Guidance for Cold Weather Shelter guests is available here.    

Since shelters are largely used by individuals experiencing homelessness, the City does not list the locations for a variety of reasons, including managing capacity limits and privacy concerns. However, the City is publicizing the location of the embarkation point, which is the OTC at 505 Barton Springs Road.    

Residents are encouraged to follow austintexas.gov/alertsfor emergency information updated in multiple languages.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Austin City Council Passes Resolution to Support and Sustain Live Music Events

Today, the Austin City Council unanimously passed a resolution directing city staff to solidify an equitable co-sponsorship process and investigate opportunities to support and sustain live music community events. Recognizing the integral role of such events in Austin's cultural identity and economic vitality, the resolution underscores the city's commitment to maintaining its memorable music scene.

The resolution, which builds upon Austin's reputation as the 'Live Music Capital of the World,' emphasizes the importance of diverse, open-to-the-public community events. It acknowledges the challenges faced by event organizers and stakeholders while emphasizing the significance of collaboration across all parties in the live music ecosystem.

After the resolution passed, one of the sponsors, Council Member Harper-Madison, emphasized, “This is not the finish line by any means, this is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing conversations across our music and arts space. Our vision is that the future generations of Austinites will get to experience live music events and traditions that are the fabric of our 'uniquely Austin' quality of life.”

This resolution reaffirms the City of Austin's commitment to fostering a thriving and inclusive live music ecosystem that benefits residents, visitors, and local businesses alike.

City of Austin Presidents Day Closures

City offices and some facilities will be closed Monday, Feb. 19    

City of Austin administrative offices and other municipal facilities will be closed Monday, Feb. 19, in observance of Presidents Day. Normal business hours will resume Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Parks and Recreation
Most Austin Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed for Presidents Day. However, City parks, golf courses, cemeteries, and some pools will be open. Facility hours vary by location so please call ahead or visit AustinTexas.gov/Parks for details. Information on closures is available at AustinTexas.gov/ParkClosures.

Austin Resource Recovery
Trash, Recycling, Composting and Facility Schedules 

Curbside collections will follow regular schedules and will not be affected by the President's Day holiday. Customers can check their collection schedule any time in the Austin Recycles app or at austintexas.gov/myschedule. The Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center and administrative offices will be closed on Monday, Feb. 19 but Austin Water’s Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant will be open regular hours for yard trimmings and large brush drop off. 

Austin Public Health
Environmental Health Services at the Rutherford Lane Campus, Office of Vital Records, all WIC and Shots for Tots clinics, and Neighbor Centers will be closed Monday, Feb. 19.

COVID-19 test is available at private and non-profit sites throughout Austin, including pharmacies, hospitals and urgent care centers. Those who have private insurance can contact their doctor’s office or insurer for assessment and testing options. Additional resources:  
•    Department of Health and Human Services community-based testing portal  
•    COVID.gov testing resources 

Visit Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) to find flu and COVID-19 vaccine providers near you. 

Austin Energy
The City of Austin Utilities Customer Care Call Center and City of Austin Utility Customer Service Centers will be closed on Presidents Day. Customers can make utility payments at coautilities.com or by calling 1-833-375-4919 for a Quick Payment. 
Additional payment options include: 

•    Paying at authorized locations, including most Austin H-E-B, Fiesta Mart, Randalls and Walmart stores 

•    Mailing money order or check to P.O. BOX 2267, Austin, TX 78783-2267 or using a drop box location  

•    Payment drop boxes are located at the North and South Utility Customer Service Centers, 625 East 10th Street and 505 Barton Springs Rd. Expect 3-5 business days for drop-off payments to process. The payment drop box at the East Branch inside Rosewood-Zaragosa is NOT available at this time. 

Downtown Austin Community Court

•    The Downtown Austin Community Court's Violet KeepSafe Storage program (VKS), Homeless Services, Court Services, and Community Services will be closed on Monday, Feb. 19. The following day, all services will reopen at their regular time: VKS at 7 a.m., Community Services at 7:30 a.m., and Homeless Services & Court Services at 8 a.m.

Austin Public Library Schedule
Austin Public Library, Recycled Reads Bookstore, and the Austin History Center branches will be closed both Sunday, Feb. 18 and Monday, Feb. 19. Resources that are available remotely can be accessed at the Austin Public Library website: library.austintexas.gov.

Austin Animal Center Schedule
The Austin Animal Center will close for Presidents Day, reopening on Tuesday.

For questions about City services or information call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000. Residents can also submit service requests from the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app.



Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Thomas Dambo to Share Vision and Story of the Pease Park Troll

Two upcoming events in Pease Park will feature Thomas Dambo, the world-leading recycle artist and creator of the Pease Park troll. 

Thomas Dambo Troll Media Day
Friday, March 1, 2024
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Kingsbury Commons at Pease Park
1100 Kingsbury Street
Hear from Thomas Dambo about his vision for his art around the world and in Pease Park as the Pease Park troll build begins.
Day-of-event contact: Allison Johnson, 512-914-2451

Pease Park Troll Introduction and Celebration
Friday, March 15, 2024
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kingsbury Commons at Pease Park
1100 Kingsbury Street
Join Thomas Dambo as he introduces the Pease Park troll to the Austin community. He will share the story of the Austin troll as we celebrate the completion of the build with food, nonalcoholic beverages, and music.
Day-of-event contact: Jordan Fuhrer, 703-798-7903

Parking options include:
  • Parking lot at the Austin Recreation Center, 1301 Shoal Creek Blvd.
  • Small parking lot in front of the south end of Pease Park at 1100 Kingsbury Street
  • Street parking on Parkway, North of 15th Street
Upon arrival at the park, follow the eastern trail north through Kingsbury Commons (about ¼ mile) until you see the event set-up. 

Find frequently asked questions about Austin’s Thomas Dambo troll  at peasepark.org/news/trollfaq. Pease Park Conservancy can be reached at info@peasepark.org.

About Pease Park and Pease Park Conservancy
Pease Park Conservancy was formed in 2008 and celebrates the diverse ecology and history that make Austin’s first public park valuable and unique. In partnership with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, the Conservancy works to restore, enhance, and maintain this 84-acre public green space for the sustainable use and enjoyment of all. Unfolding across 84 acres and owned by the City of Austin, Pease Park is a series of connected green spaces running along Lamar Blvd from 15th to 31st Streets.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

City of Austin Making Significant Progress in Building Pathways to Exit Homelessness

 

Update presented to City Council highlights partnership between Homeless Strategy Office and Housing Department to create a continuum of support. 

City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Office and the Housing Department presented an update on the expansion of City emergency shelter capacity as well as progress made toward new permanent supportive housing projects at Tuesday’s City Council work session.  

“We are moving full steam ahead in partnership together to build our entire system infrastructure,” said David Gray, Homeless Strategy Officer. “The fact of the matter is we don’t have the luxury of choosing if we want to go all in on more shelters or more housing – we need both. And I’m really proud of the fact that we’re making strides in closing the gaps in our system.” 

According to Gray, 3,324 clients used shelter services in Fiscal Year 2023 – a record-breaking number. The presentation also revealed that Austin is outperforming every other U.S. city in the percentage of clients successfully exiting shelters, with 60% leaving for rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, reunification with family members or other positive resolutions. 

While currently only 3% are leaving shelters for permanent supportive housing, City leaders anticipate that number will eventually increase with new units expected to be available soon and more in the pipeline. Permanent supportive housing includes not just a home but wrap-around services including access to mental health care and case management. The number of permanent supportive housing units is expected to grow by 630% between now and 2026 with more than 1,000 new units. 

“Austin’s homeless response system outperforms the national average for major cities, and we expect a 300% growth in permanent supportive housing this calendar year,” said James May, the City’s Housing and Community Development Officer. “And that number should continue to go up as we approve more loans and more financing for additional developments over the next several years through 2026.” 

The City’s Homeless Strategy Office and Housing Department’s next steps towards building pathways to exit homelessness include:  

  • Transitioning day-to-day site operations of BRIDGE shelters in March. 
  • Exploring additional shelter opportunities to close gaps.  
  • Releasing solicitation for landlord incentives in Spring/Summer 2024.  
  • Providing ongoing support for Permanent Supportive Housing and Continuum of Care developments through Rental Housing Development Assistance. 
  • Monitoring Local Housing Voucher program for improvements. 
  • Identifying new partnerships for Permanent Supportive Housing developments, such as Espero Rutland

Interim City Manager Jesús Garza said the cross-departmental collaboration is emblematic of how government should work to solve society’s most challenging issues.  

“This is a great example of what it means to be 'City first' when it comes to addressing critical needs within our community,” Garza said. “And I think that’s the kind of collaboration that we need to be doing in this organization to continue to succeed.” 

To learn more about resources for those experiencing homelessness in Austin, please visit www.austintexas.gov/homelessness.

Office of Police Oversight Hosts Working Group Meeting

 

Community members' input requested for Police Oversight Implementation Working Group meetings

 
Austin, Texas- The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) will host the second quarterly Police Oversight Implementation Workgroup meeting on February 22, 2024, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

OPO invites community members to attend this meeting to offer input on future meetings as well as receive the most recent complaints data from OPO.  

The meeting is open to the public and will be hosted at the Asian American Resource Center (8401 Cameron Rd). 

Registration information:   

Register to participate here.

Accessibility and Accommodation Information: 

The event will be presented in both English and Spanish, as well as American Sign Language (ASL). Additional interpretation services and accessibility accommodations are available upon request. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email OPO.Outreach@AustinTexas.gov or call (512) 974-9090.

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La Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO, por sus siglas en inglés) realizará la segunda reunión trimestral del Grupo de Trabajo de Implementación de Fiscalización de la Policía el 22 de febrero de 2024 de 6:30 p.m. a 7:30 p.m. 

La OPO invita a los miembros de la comunidad a asistir a esta reunión para ofrecer sus comentarios sobre futuras reuniones, así como para recibir los datos más recientes de quejas de la OPO.  

La reunión está abierta al público y se realizará en el Centro de Recursos Asiáticoamericanos (8401 Cameron Rd). 

Información sobre la inscripción:   

Inscríbase para participar aquí.

Información sobre accesibilidad y adaptaciones: 

El evento será presentado en inglés y en español, así como en lengua de señas americana (ASL). Se ofrecerán servicios de interpretación y adaptaciones de accesibilidad adicionales a solicitud. 

Si tiene alguna pregunta o inquietud, por favor escríbanos a OPO.Outreach@AustinTexas.gov o llámenos al (512) 974-9090.

 

About the Office of Police Oversight  

The mission of the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is to provide impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department's conduct, practices, and policies to enhance accountability, inform the public to increase transparency, and create sustainable partnerships throughout the community. 

City's Housing Department Seeks Input for Federally Funded Programming for 5-year Consolidated Plan

The City of Austin Housing Department invites community members to help guide a new five-year plan to invest housing and community development dollars where they are needed most. As required by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), a community needs assessment is conducted each year to ensure that federal funding meets the needs of Austin’s low and moderate-income residents.  

In FY 2023-2024, the City received approximately $14 million in HUD annual grants to support programs for affordable housing, community development, economic development, and public services. This year, the Housing Department will expand the community needs assessment so that programming funded by local dollars can also benefit from the community’s feedback. The expanded process to collect feedback on community needs to guide the next five years of funding begins on February 5 and runs through March 15. The public can participate online at www.SpeakUpAustin.com/MyCommunityNeeds. Input may be submitted until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 15. The City will gather feedback and submit the consolidated plan to HUD in August 2024.  

Additional Ways to Give Input

Please include a name, address, and phone number when submitting comments:  

  • Mail to: Housing Department Attn: FY 2024-2029 Consolidated Plan P.O. Box 1088 Austin, Texas 78767. Visit your local library to pick up a paper copy of the survey.  
  • Email: Housing@austintexas.gov  
  • Phone: Call the Housing Department at 512-974-3155
  • Text: To receive the survey questions on your mobile device, text MyCommunity to 73224

Participate in public hearings, either in-person or remotely, at the following meetings:

  • 10:00 AM Thursday, March 7, 2024: Austin City Council
  • 6:30 PM Tuesday, March 12, 2024: Community Development Commission  

Comments can be made in person or remotely at both meetings. Review instructions for participating in public comment: www.SpeakUpAustin.com/MyCommunityNeeds. The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. For assistance, please call (512) 974-2210 OR (512) 974-2445 TDD

HUD Funding Background

The City of Austin receives federal funding through four grants administered by HUD: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). The 5-Year Consolidated Plan allocates federal resources to housing and community development and serves as an application for funding through these four grants. Programs are funded across several City departments including renter help, homebuyer and homeowner assistance, mental health support, childcare, senior services, housing and community development support, and homelessness assistance.

An annual Action Plan is developed each year to guide the implementation of those dollars received through the four HUD grants. As a wrap-up to each year, a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) evaluates the performance and activity of federally funded programming. Community feedback on these guiding plans occurs annually through the Action Plan and CAPER to help shape programs that meet community needs. This year, 2024, kicks off the next five years of the Consolidated Plan framework.

To learn more about how these dollars have been invested in the past and the factors that drive funding decisions, visit www.SpeakUpAustin.com/MyCommunityNeeds

City of Austin Activates Cold Weather Shelters on Saturday, Feb. 17  

  Finding the status of shelters by calling 512-972-5055   AUSTIN, Texas -  The City of Austin is opening overnight cold weather shelters on...