This is the first post in a 4-part series around a variety of community resources available. Check back for more information on education, life and online resources, or check out our full list of Community Resources.
Many residents in Austin want to better themselves; give their family a better life, give their children better opportunities, and overcome the obstacles in the way of achieving their personal and professional goals. Unfortunately, overcoming those obstacles can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to discover where to find resources, what resources are available, or where to begin. We hope this list will ease the obstacles in your path. Listed below are some local resources available as a helping hand on the path to self sufficiency.
The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, or DARS, administers programs that ensure Texas is a state where people with disabilities, and children who have developmental delays, enjoy the same opportunities as other Texans to live independent and productive lives.
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers after school programs for the community that foster youth development in a safe and caring environment. Our goal is to create opportunities for youth ages 5-12 to engage in critical thinking and exercise decision-making skills. The four core components of our after school programs include a healthy snack, active play, enrichment and homework help.
Child Inc, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit organization that provides low-income families with comprehensive early childhood education, including mental health services, disabilities services, nutritional services, medical and dental services, social services and parent engagement activities.
Extend-A-Care programs are designed to accommodate the needs of working parents by being both affordable and high in quality. They offer a variety of outdoor and indoor activities including time for reading and homework, supervised sports, field trips, creative arts, table games, math and science projects, music, dramatic play, cooking, and health and safety.
Foundation for the Homeless mobilizes faith-based and community resources in a spirit of compassion to restore hope and alleviate homelessness. Here is more information about two of their programs:
Professional case managers assist families with the following issues: housing, employment, job training, education, childcare, counseling, legal issues and many other needs. Case managers work with the Passages partner agencies, as well as the community at large, to ensure that each family successfully moves toward self-sufficiency.
Austin Energy Plus One
Foundation for the Homeless and Austin Energy work in partnership to alleviate utility debt for clients who have fallen behind on payments due to unforeseen circumstances or who need financial assistance with current utility deposits or an Austin Energy electric bill.
Capital Area Food Bank shares free food and knowledge on low-cost, healthy eating with families in need. Learn how they stock their shelves, provide healthy meals and educate. They make it easy for families to participate in federal assistance programs. Learn how we connect families to life-enhancing resources. And finally, the Food Bank makes food affordable for charitable and government partners. The quality food and food resources they provide means that their partners can spend their limited resources to enhance their programs. Learn more about how the Food Bank strengthens community services.
The Sustainable Food Center cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and increasing access to nutritious, affordable food. Here is more information on two of their programs:
All SFC Farmers’ Markets accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps), WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and FMNP (Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) benefits. These benefits are DOUBLED through the Double Dollar Incentive Program – SFC’s Double Dollars. SFC’s Double Dollars was the first program of its kind in Texas. This program matches up to $20 in SNAP, WIC and FMNP benefits that can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables.
Farmers’ Market Downtown
Featuring dozens of farmers and award-winning food artisans, this market is a must see for newcomers and regulars. Situated in the picturesque Republic Square Park and on the new cosmopolitan Federal Courthouse Plaza, there is a café under the Auction Oak, live music, and plenty of room to picnic.
Each year, Urban Roots donates 40% of our harvest to local soup kitchens and food pantries. What’s more, youth Farm Interns work at these same organizations to learn first hand about hunger and food access issues in Austin. In the 2015 program year, Urban Roots donated over 11,000 lb. of produce to local hunger relief agencies.
United Way’s Financial Stability program helps families and individuals find the skills, knowledge and community resources they need to overcome tough times and become financially stable. Financial Stability helps families and individuals get the help they need through three core strategies: learning, saving and thriving.