Friday, September 9, 2022

City of Austin to Help 21 Non-Profits Tool Up to Address Homelessness

The City of Austin Homeless Strategy Division and Innovation Office announce the selection of 21 organizations awarded contracts through the Organizational Capacity Building Initiative: Assessment, Acceleration, and Small Grants Program. The 21 non-profit organizations have executed contracts with the City of Austin Innovation Office, allowing them to participate in the initiative, receiving technical assistance and small grants valued at up to $45,000.

This initiative is funded with dedicated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding in the amount of $1 million. This initiative is the first phase of organization capacity investments, and an additional $2.9 million of funding will be available in FY2023. The funding will support and increase the capacity of service providers in Austin's Homelessness Response System, and address the goals of Finding Home ATX, including rehousing 3,000 Austinites over 3 years. The Organizational Capacity Building Initiative is a partnership between the City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division and Innovation Office, Blue Sky Partners and support provided by FUSE Corps Executive Fellows.

“In order for us to meet community goals around reducing homelessness, we are going to need the help of a broad variety of service providers, some of whom may not have been previously funded by the City of Austin. The awards provide targeted funding for service providers to help them scale up or improve services,” said City of Austin Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey.

A community-informed initiative, the Organizational Capacity Building Initiative has brought a diverse group of organizations together to deepen and scale the impact of programs and services that support people experiencing homelessness. The initiative was designed based on a series of listening sessions the City held in partnership with Austin’s Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO). The 21 awardees were selected by an evaluation panel that included community advocates and persons with lived expertise of homelessness. Each organization supports people experiencing homelessness throughout Austin and Travis County, ranging in size, budget, and mission. Services provided by these organizations include employment and education support, housing connections, benefits enrollment, basic needs, community and holistic support, and LGBTQ+ focused services. Several of the organizations are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) or employ people with lived experience of homelessness. BIPOC Austinites are disproportionately represented among people experiencing homelessness, and scaling minority-led and lived-experience organizations providing culturally competent services is critical to addressing this disparity. The organizations awarded are:

Awardees have been chosen to participate in this initiative to effectively expand services, improve equity across the system, and support the integration of minority-led, smaller, or newer organizations into Austin's Homelessness Response System (HRS). The effort hopes to build pathways for these organizations to access government funding. The 21 organizations selected will participate in a Needs Assessment process led by Blue Sky Partners to identify and prioritize organizational development needs and accelerate the scale of organizations in Austin's Homelessness Response System.
 
Planning is in progress for a second phase of grant funding available from the City of Austin for the Organizational Capacity Building Initiative, which will include larger, one-time awards that address capacity needs identified in the first phase.
  
To learn more about homelessness in Austin, please visit www.austintexas.gov/homelessness


Austin Making Progress Towards Establishing Resilience Hubs

  First citywide feedback meeting is Thursday, Oct. 6 The City of Austin is  taking steps  to launch a network of Resilience Hubs. The first...