AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, the City of Austin announced $20 million will go to 14 nonprofits to help people at risk of being displaced due to Project Connect plans.
Project Connect is the City’s multi-billion-dollar transportation system upgrade in the works, with $300 million of the project’s total budget allocated to anti-displacement initiatives.
KXAN reached out to all 14 groups to ask exactly what their plans are to help those people.
Goodwill Industries of Central Texas: $2 million
“Honestly, I freaked out a little bit. It’s so exciting,” said Jennifer Carter, Goodwill Central Texas’ chief mission officer.
Carter said their anti-displacement funding will go toward programs to help clients find and keep stable, career jobs, so they can keep their homes.
“It’s huge. It’s a completely holistic wraparound services, financial literacy, soft skills training, occupational training, support for child care — everything,” she said.
According to the City, “all Project Connect anti-displacement funds will focus on preventing displacement in risk areas within one mile of transit lines.”
Carter said their team already has that mapped out.
“We know where our zip codes are, we know where our streets are. So, if anybody is interested, once we kick this off, we will be able to help determine… if you’re within that range or not,” she explained.
Austin Tenants Council: $997,310
Not all groups have the target population mapped out.
“We do have some older data management systems, and we aren’t really able to drill down with that level of specificity,” said Aja Gair, Austin Tenants Council’s interim executive director.
Gair said they plan to use part of their new funding for upgrades over the next year to glean that data.
“We want to be able to. That is incredible information that can tell us a lot about what’s happening in the community,” she said.
In the meantime, Gair said they’ll also do immediate work to get people the help they need by hosting community clinics to find new tenants in areas at-risk of Project Connect displacement.
“We’re thrilled,” she said.
Meals on Wheels Central Texas: $900,000
Spokesperson Mariette Hummel said the funds will help support their clients who live in the identified displacement risk areas within one mile of Project Connect transit lines.
However, she said they’ll need to talk to their client services team to figure out a good strategy to target those folks.
Austin Cooperative Business Foundation, Asociacion de Residentes: $516,206
ACBF’s focus includes preserving and creating more “naturally affordable cooperative housing,” said program director Drew De Los Santos.
He said the group will work with Resident Owned Communities (ROC USA) and the Asociacion de Residentes de North Lamar (ARNL) “to support their plans to improve and maintain the health and safety of their community-owned manufactured housing property.”
ARNL’s property, he said, is located within the Project Connect risk area.
“We believe two keys to preventing displacement are resident ownership through the cooperative model and ongoing maintenance to ensure that housing remains healthy and safe. We’ll be taking the lead of the residents and further supporting resident leadership development throughout this process,” Santos said.
El Buen Samaritano: $2 million
El Buen said it will use its money to move forward with a multi-partnership plan it already has to ease immediate displacement as well as create “long-term wealth building strategies throughout the Project Connect (PC) displacement areas and the Eastern Crescent (EC).”
Spokesperson Sara DuPont said they use mapping software to determine if a neighbor’s address falls within PC’s displacement risk area.
“We will be publishing a public web-based tool where potential clients can check their own address against the Project Connect displacement risk area boundary produced by the City of Austin,” DuPont said.
Other grant recipients are:
- Interfaith Action of Central Texas: $256,650
- Austin Voices for Education and Youth: $1,268,000
- Workers Defense Project – Building and Strengthening Tenant Action: $2 million
- Catholic Charities of Central Texas: $1,924,000
- Business & Community Lenders: $2 million
- Del Valle Community Coalition – Homeowner: $1.1 million
- Communities in School of Central Texas: $1.5 million
- Life Anew Restorative Justice Inc.: $2 million
- Mama Sana Vibrant Woman: $1.5 million