Walter Moreau, executive director at Foundation Communities in Austin, said he’s running mostly on adrenaline. As of Wednesday, 56 of the 140 client-families who recently escaped homelessness can’t pay their rent because of lost wages due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the nonprofit’s 21 food banks are serving double the number of families than before.
"This whole experience is surreal," Moreau said. "We had similar experiences after Hurricane Katrina, but you could sense an end to it."
Yet, even when Austinites are dealing with their own challenges, they’re still concerned about their neighbors. So, here’s a list of some of the nonprofits serving those hardest hit by the pandemic. Meanwhile, Congress is likely to pass legislation expanding taxpayers’ ability to deduct charitable donations.
Here are some places that could use some help:
All Together ATX (United Way for Greater Austin, Austin Community Foundation)
This fund addresses needs in communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. give.unitedwayaustin.org.
AISD Crisis Support Fund
Donations will help expand food services to provide weekend packs so families can have food security beyond daily weekday meals. The donations will also support health programs and remote learning for students. austinedfund.org/crisis-support-fund.
Artists Emergency Relief Fund
Contributions help artists who lose income from gigs canceled due to COVID-19. Those facing food and housing insecurity get priority. austincreativealliance.org/emergency.
Austin EMS Relief Fund
This fund will give 100% of donations to medics exposed to COVID-19 or who are symptomatic, quarantined or cannot work because of it. donorbox.org/austinemsrf.
Central Texas Food Bank
Monetary donations turn into meals for hungry families, especially those that don’t qualify for federal assistance. centraltexasfoodbank.org.
As donations of food, clothing and other supplies can’t be accepted right now, monetary contributions will provide basic necessities to homeless, abused and at-risk youths in 17 counties, including Bastrop, Caldwell and Comal. connectionsifs.org.
Disaster Relief Fund (United Way of Hays & Caldwell Counties)
Funds will go to partner agencies helping people in Hays and Caldwell counties with rent and utility bills. unitedwayhaysco.org/covid-19-response.
Foundation Communities Emergency Assistance Fund
Emergency funds will help hundreds of families as well as veterans, seniors and individuals with disabilities pay for rent, utilities, household items, necessary transportation and more. foundcom.org.
The Helping Center (Burnet County)
Each $10 donated provides food for a family for one week. helpingcenter.org/#give.
Just COVID-19 Relief Fund
This fund will make emergency loans to low-income female entrepreneurs during the pandemic and recovery loans to restart business when it’s over. Hellojust.com/united.
Relief for Austin Fund
Contributions go to individual food-and-beverage workers in crisis. southernsmoke.org/fund.
Stand with Austin Fund (Austin Community Foundation, Entrepreneurs Foundation)
This fund will make grants to nonprofits serving individuals and small businesses most affected by the cancellation of SXSW. austincf.org/stand-with-austin.
Without financial contributions, nonprofits and the people they serve will face mounting challenges, especially as the unemployment rate climbs.
"We’re not evicting anybody who can’t pay their rent," said Moreau of Foundation Communities. "But we depend on rental income for 80% of our budget. We just don’t know how deep and how long this crisis will be. Every single dollar we receive will be used."