Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Go Vote! Then read COVID-19 updates inside this newsletter...

SoulyATX Insider

November 3, 2020

Go Vote! Then read COVID-19 updates inside this newsletter...

+ Resources for COVID-19 Recovery
The State of Texas with a check mark – Vote 2020!
Vote today for the future you want to see! Find your voting location and other information at VoteTexas.gov. Visit the Travis County Clerk's Office website for a list of voting locations, wait times at locations across the county, a copy of your sample ballot, and voter identification requirements, and more. 

- Veronica Briseño, City of Austin Chief Economic Recovery Officer

Economic Development Department Highlights

Social Media Consolidation
The City of Austin Economic Development Department is consolidating our social media presence to focus on three main audiences: Business, Arts & Music.
  • For Economic Development Department news and business resources, follow @AustinEconDev on Facebook and Twitter.
  • For creative industry opportunities and funding, follow @CityofAustinArts on Facebook and Instagram.
  • For music industry resources and updates, follow @ATXMusicOffice on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
On November 17, we will merge our SoulyATX Facebook page with the Economic Development Department Facebook page @AustinEconDev and deactivating our SoulyATX Instagram account.
ATX+EGYPT Fashion Business Development and Cultural Exchange Program
Deadline Extended to November 9 at 10:00 a.m. CST (5:00 p.m. in Egypt)
The City of Austin Economic Development Department and the United States (U.S.) Embassy in Cairo, Egypt have partnered on an international exchange program for established fashion businesses in Austin and Egypt. Visit austintexas.gov/atxegypt for more information on the program and eligibility. Deadline to apply for ATX+EGYPT extended until November 9!
Gig Economy
Exploring Entrepreneurship: Let's Get Gig-y
Join the Small Business Division as they discuss the gig economy and how it has changed since the pandemic began, new trends in the sector, and tips on how to find steady gigs. The discussion will begin with a gig economy expert panel for 45 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of expert-facilitated round table discussions to help you navigate the new gig world. Register for Exploring Entrepreneurship: Let's Get Gig-y on November 17
Open Calls for Public Art
Artists – apply now for big opportunities to create art for our city! Work with local communities and different City departments to create public artwork that reflects the diverse cultural landscape of Austin! Budgets range from $30,000-$104,000 per artwork commission. Learn more and apply for Austin Art in Public Place's open calls!
City issues Request for Proposals for the 5.5-acre Ryan Drive Site
On October 8, the City of Austin issued a Request for Proposals for the approximately 5.5-acre, city-owned property at 6909 Ryan Drive. Building on the community outreach done previously, the City worked over the past year with the community and stakeholders to refine development options for this future mixed-income housing development and established minimum development criteria for the site related to affordable housing, parks and open space, and community/commercial space, as well as pedestrian and bicycle access improvements to the Crestview MetroRail Station. Learn more about the solicitation for Ryan Drive.

Health & Safety

COVID-19 Community Resources
Visit the City of Austin COVID-19 Resources website for a range of resources provided by City, County, and community partners. These resources are available to help residents and businesses in the City of Austin area who may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Categories include Basic Needs, Schools/Education, Mental Health, Childcare, and more.

An older adult receiving an At-Home COVID-19 Test
At-home COVID-19 Testing
If you can't leave your home due to mobility impairments, are considered high-risk of developing severe symptoms, or don't have transportation, you can schedule a test. Austin Public Health can come to you! Call (512) 972-5560.

Get Flu Shot to Fight Flu
Austin Public Health wants to remind the community that getting a flu vaccine is critical, especially during COVID-19, to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the entire community from the flu. Visit austintexas.gov/flu for more information.
Austin Public Health will host their second drive-thru flu shot event on November 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Travis County Expo Center, which will distribute approximately 600 flu shots. Appointments are encouraged as only a limited number of drive-ups will be available. Call Austin Public Health Immunizations at 512-972-5520 (M-F, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) to schedule an appointment.
Flyers are also available in English | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文 (简体) | 中文 (繁體) | 한국어 | Burmese | اُردُو | العربية
COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
Integral Care's 24/7 Crisis Helpline continues to provide immediate support to people experiencing a mental health crisis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For help, please call 512-472-4357. Learn more about Integral Care services.
Three people holding up signs and speaking into megaphones against COVID-19 Racial Harassment
Report COVID-19 Racial Harassment
Racial harassment and hate crimes related to COVID-19 are on the rise across the US. Help us track local incidents + prevent future ones. Report COVID-19 racism

City of Austin Announcements

Food Access During the Pandemic
ConnectATX and 2-1-1 are helping provide access to a list of vetted organizations that help with basic food needs such as pantries, curbside meals, grocery delivery services and meals for school age children. Additionally, the Eating Apart Together (EAT) Initiative helps get food to people experiencing homelessness.
Utility Bill Relief
Residential customers are eligible for financial assistance for utility bill relief if they, or a member of their household, have experienced a financial hardship, loss of job, or reduction in income related to COVID-19. For more information, visit: www.austinbillhelp.com.
Austin Center for Events Reorganization
The FY2020-21 budget included several department reorganizations to improve operational effectiveness. Consistent with the Adopted FY2020-2021 Budget, five positions within Austin Center for Events transferred to Development Services Department beginning October 1, including two positions from Corporate Special Events and four positions from the Economic Development Department's Music and Entertainment Division. Read the memo to City Council for more information.
Aligning Austin Center for Events with Development Services Department will allow for further streamlining of the event permitting process. As lead department for the City's permitting software, the Development Services Development is committing additional resources to automating and enhancing the process for both staff and event organizers. Visit www.austintexas.gov/ace for more information about the Austin Center for Events.

RENT Assistance Program Expanded
The City of Austin is announcing changes to expand the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program for income-eligible Austin renters who have experienced a COVID-19-related income loss. 
Effective immediately, the RENT Assistance Program will:
  • Provide up to six months of full contracted rent payment for rent incurred between March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  This includes rent that is due now, rent that is overdue and future rent during this time period.
  • Conduct random selection drawings at noon every Friday through end of the year, or until the funds are expended.  All applications, regardless of when they are submitted, will continue to be given equal chance in the selection process.
  • Households will be allowed a one-time certification of eligibility (instead of monthly) at the time applications are submitted.
Potential applicants should visit the RENT Application Portal for instructions, a how-to video, frequently asked questions, and application assistance. For further information visit www.austintexas.gov/RENT, email AustinRENT@cvrassociates.com or call the RENT Call Center at 512-488-1397 between  8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST Monday through Friday. Individuals needing hearing or speech accessibility using TDD or TTY technology may call Texas Relay Services by dialing 7-1-1 for assistance.

2016 Mobility Bond is putting Austin In Motion
Austin voters approved $720 million in bonds in 2016 for transportation and mobility improvements throughout the city. Through 2024, a dedicated project team will deliver these improvements for a more mobile and safer Austin. Visit the City of Austin Capital Projects Explorer website for more information on tracking how your tax-payer dollars are being invested and to stay up-to-date on the progress of this historic bond investment.

Help Shape How the Austin Community Recycles
The City of Austin would like to hear your thoughts about the importance of waste reduction, reuse and recycling in your life. Take the short survey now through November 15 and help shape Austin Resource Recovery's Comprehensive Plan, the City's roadmap to zero waste.
Free Bike Parking for Businesses
The City of Austin now installs bike parking for free within the public right of way for your business or a business you have visited. To get started, review the City's bike parking guidelines and online bike parking application in English or Spanish. You can also spruce up your bike parking with a planter by requesting that in your application or emailing Austin Transportation's Active Transportation and Street Design Division.


Carver Museum Hosts Art and Business Conversation Series
The George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center, in collaboration with Capitol View Arts, will present its fourth installment of the Art and Business Conversation Series. This series addresses the challenges that Black and Brown creatives in the greater Austin area face in regards to launching their careers. Discussions will provide practical skills into the business of art and the cultivation of sustainable full-time careers. Register to attend an upcoming conversation.


Virtual Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting
Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Austin Trail of Lights
The City and partners are proud to keep these holiday traditions open. However, there are changes to access this year due to COVD-19 safety measures. Watch the Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony virtually for free at home with your host Quita Culpepper. Musical accompaniments from Austin Civic Wind Ensemble and Barton Hills Choir round out this cheerful holiday experience. Tune in on Sunday, November 29at 6 p.m.
The Trail of Lights, open from November 28 through January 3, is drive-thru only this year. Vehicle tickets must be purchased in advance. More details at www.austintrailoflights.org.

COVID-19 Community Resources

Visit the City of Austin's www.ATXRecovers.com for resources to help businesses and individuals recover from financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
PeopleFund Loans
Stand with Austin aims to help arts, music, creative (including technical), service, bar and hospitality businesses. It is also open to other kinds of businesses that can demonstrate a direct negative impact by the cancellation of SXSW. Participants in this program receive loans from $5,000 to $150,000 with concessionary interest rates and the first six months of payments totally forgiven.
Relief for Restaurants in Austin support restaurants in the Austin area. Participants in this relief fund receive financial assistance in the form of loans from $5,000 to $150,000 with interest rates of 5% or less and the first 6 months of payments totally forgiven.
A Night for Austin offers financial assistance in the form of zero-interest loans to local musicians.


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