Programs for struggling businesses, homeless case management changes on tap at Austin City Council


AUSTIN (KXAN) – Here are some items to note ahead of the Austin City Council meeting Thursday:

More on programs for struggling businesses: Approved

Council adopted enhanced guidelines for grant programs that benefit live music venues and legacy businesses. The Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant is a $5 million program to help support Austin-based live music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund offers $5 million to help support impacted Austin-based live music venues.

Council members also discussed updating 380 program guidelines that give the city more flexibility to help struggling local businesses. This could include property tax relief, fee and permit waivers or rent assistance.

The guideline changes were proposed with the SAVES Program funding in mind.

A new case management program for Austin’s homeless population: Approved

A partnership between Integral Care and the Downtown Austin Alliance could allow for more case management, housing navigation and psychiatric services for people experiencing homelessness in Austin.

Those identified by the Homelessness Outreach Street Team (HOST) and the Downtown Austin Community Court would be referred to a “Specialty Intensive Integrated Management Treatment Team,” managed by Integral Care and based out of the Terrace at Oak Springs Clinic.

According to staff documents, the team could treat between 150 and 175 individuals every year. The Downtown Austin Alliance would commit $170,000 the first year; the city would likely need to contribute more than $500,000 a year.

Council approved this item with an amendment.

Business operations during the pandemic: Approved

To allow for social distancing, Austin now allows restaurants, bars and retail to use more space for outdoor dining and shopping.

Council extended this “Shop the Block” pilot program for another six months.

Businesses can also use public parking spaces in front of their establishments for customer waiting or service, or, if applicable, close their street to car traffic to attract more pedestrian and bike activity.

Businesses can apply for a 30-day permit to expand their businesses outdoors onto their private parking lots and public sidewalk.

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