City of Austin / Travis County has made available another relief program for households impacted by loss of work due to COVID-19. RISE 2.0 $2000 relief grants will be dispersed via a lottery to applicants who qualify.
This program is being periodically funded by the COA, last round of funding and applications was opened on August 19th, which may still have funds available, but is also somewhat first come first serve. There are income thresholds to qualify, and awards are decided via lottery.
Creative Workers Relief Grant
The Creative Worker Relief Grant is a direct result of advocacy on part of Austin’s Chapter of Soundgirls.org in partnership with IATSE Local 205 to earmark some of the CARES Act municipal funding for creative worker relief. It provides for up to a $2000 grant to cover expenses incurred due to COVID-19 loss of income from March 1st to August 17th. This program was definitely designed with live event professionals in mind, among many other disproportionately affected creative fields.
You can start/stop the application process at any time, so feel free to start it now so you can become familiar with the questions. The video webinar above and FAQ on their site are also excellent resources.
Additional eligibility questions can be fielded by: Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts Email: Call: 512-588-9971
For application process technical support: Austin Better Business Bureau Email: Call: 512-318-2683
Awards are to be split. 50% of them are based on a weighted matrix of vulnerability. The other 50% are lottery based. They are NOT based on how quickly you get your application in.
The following is from a communication from the office of Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett:
So many of our neighbors have sought ways to help others as we work together to reach the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a light for others is certainly a meaningful way to get through these difficult times. Understanding the challenges facing the many with lost jobs or weakened businesses, I include below some ways you can help that do not require contributing money.
Working with so many nonprofits, myself, I know a number, which continue doing so much good, have been forced to cancel fundraising events and suffer reduced donations. For those still fortunate enough to be able to offer financial support, I have collected some seeking your help here.
Food Banks You have seen the lines of cars waiting for help. With so much demand, more volunteers are needed.
Central Texas Food Bank Central Texas Food Bank is seeking volunteers. Visit the website here. Volunteer shifts have been adjusted to include fewer people and maximize social distancing and have even implemented a touch-free volunteer check-in system. Additional precautionary hygiene measures are in place to maintain the health and wellness of volunteer workforce as well as those that receive our food. Learn more about their safety measures here.
Hays County Food Bank Hays County Food Bank has opportunities for people with cars. In order to determine if you can volunteer, you must first answer a few screening questions. Learn more here.
Senior Access and Drive a Senior Central Texas Both programs seek volunteers for their Senior Buddy programs, in an effort to get essential goods and services to senior citizens who are at greater risk from the virus. Senior Access can be reached at its website here. Drive a Senior can be reached at its website here.
Aspire to Age Aspire to Age is in need of volunteers for 20-minute virtual phone check-ins with seniors. Their volunteer form can be found here. You can learn more about Aspire to Age and their services by visiting their website here.
We Are Blood A blood donation group with ongoing donor centers.
The North Lamar Location is located at 4300 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin.
The Round Rock Location is located at 2132 N. Mays, Suite 900.
The South Austin Location is located at 3100 W. Slaughter Lane.
They can all be reached at (512) 206-1266.
Additionally, they are collecting convalescent plasma donations from fully recovered COVID-19 individuals. This plasma is being used to treat patients currently fighting COVID-19. If you are a fully recovered COVID-19 patient and want to be considered as a convalescent plasma donor, learn more here.
Face Shield Project This Austin based volunteer organization is building improvised face shields by the thousands in partnership with the City of Austin, UT Dell Medical School and local companies. They provide all the tools, materials, training and a safe, physically distanced and hygienically supervised production space. Learn more about how to volunteer here.
Translators without Borders If you are fluent in at least one language other than your native language and would like to translate medical texts or translate for crisis response, complete the Translator Application Form here.
Generation Serve They have put a list of kid-simple activities for volunteering at home. See more here.
Make birthday cards for Pop-Up Birthday for children and teens in foster care – The cards can be simple or embellished. Write a small message inside and when you’re finished, mail them to Pop-Up Birthday at 101 Westlake Dr. Ste. 210, Austin, TX 78746.
Marbridge Foundation offers safe residential care for adults with cognitive disabilities. The residents typically have very active day-to-day lives and frequent visitors, but they have had to shelter in place without visitors recently. Please write up-lifting cards, filled with jokes and pictures, and send them to the residents of Marbridge, c/o Becca McPherson, PO Box 2250, Manchaca, TX 78652.
Nextdoor To help one’s nearby neighbors, an app I have seen recommended is Nextdoor. It has added a feature to help people coordinate offers of help. The Help Map, lets people say where they are and whether they need or can offer help, such as picking up groceries or taking a dog for a walk for an elderly neighbor. Sign up, address verification for Nextdoor’s community security. You can learn more here.
Let me know if you see a local resource missing about which I should be aware. Also, I continue to update my website coronavirus page website with helpful links, which you can view here.
We will get to the other side of this crisis, together.
As you may know, IATSE has partnered with the Actors Fund to assist members who find themselves in financial need due to being out of work during the pandemic. This morning I spoke with a very helpful contact named Barbara Davis over at the Actors Fund who walked me through the application process and documentation requirements.
The application takes about two weeks to process. She says that they’ve also recently partnered with Netflix and have funds available for crew members who need help.
Members who are not able to make ends meet for the next month or two, are encouraged to begin the application process asap to see if you qualify for a grant. On *average*, the grant amount is a one time issue of up to $1000. This is not an income replacement program, it is a financial grant to assist IATSE members help with meeting basic needs such as rent and utility bills.
If you’ve found that you require more assistance than you are able to receive through TWC unemployment benefits, visit the link below to get your application started with Actors Fund. The Actors Fund grant is to supplement, not replace your unemployment benefits.
If you’re having difficulty providing the required documentation (work history up to five years, proof of up to $6500 per year earned in stagecraft, etc) contact me for help. Miss Davis said that we can provide proof of work history if you do not have access to your W2s. Work history is archived on Call Steward or available through your employers HR departments. I am eager to assist those of you who find you need help navigating this process. Please reach out and ask.
Miss Davis also mentioned the Live Nation / Crew Nation has resources available to those who work in live music concert industry so I am looking into that and will send information on the application process as it becomes available.