AUSTIN, Texas - As the new COVID-19 orders on community gatherings, restaurants and bars are implemented, officials with the City of Austin are highlighting efforts to offer help and support to families and businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Austin Assistant City Manager Chris Shorter and Veronica Briseno, Director of Austin's Economic Development Department, are expected to speak more on the range of services during a press conference at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.
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“We understand that people will need resources during this difficult time,” said Shorter. “In anticipation of the impact of the new Orders, The City of Austin, Travis County, and our community partners are providing a range of services to help residents, workers, and businesses who are likely to be most burdened by the new restrictions.”
“We are aware that the new orders will impact all Austin businesses, especially our creative-sector workers and venues,” said Briseño. “Many of the resources we’re offering provide immediate support to ensure the economic and mental health of our local business owners, employees, and their families.”
Below is a summary of some of the services being offered by the City of Austin and Travis County.
Austin Energy will not disconnect utility services. Additional Customer Assistance Programs are available for customers facing temporary and long-term financial difficulties, as well as serious medical problems. Residential and commercial customers can contact the Customer Care Contact Center at 512-494-9400 with any questions.
Immediate Housing Needs
The Neighborhood Housing and Community Development (NHCD) Department offers information and referrals to assist impacted community members with immediate housing needs including resources for homeowners and resources for renters, including resources to avoid mortgage foreclosure and assistance for paying rent.
In partnership with Meals on Wheels, the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) will distribute curbside for seniors and their spouses (10 meals per person). Local school districts are also providing meals for their students.
The Economic Development Department is offering services for businesses who may find themselves struggling in the coming weeks. They include free business coaching, emergency planning resources, and a Family Business Loan Program. Businesses with questions about the new Orders are asked to call Austin 3-1-1.
Texas Workforce Commission is where people can apply for unemployment benefits. They also have a helpful tutorial to guide individuals through the process.
People with no insurance and no established provider experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, shortness of breath) should call CommUnityCare at 512-978-9015. CommUnityCare will triage people over the phone and send them to the appropriate location. We are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rapid-response protocol. People with no established provider should call the number above rather than come in to a clinic to prevent any potential spread of the virus.