Five months before the fall election, 150 Austin Interfaith leaders gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to launch a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort targeting 10,500 Central Texas voters. After approving the AI Agenda of Issues, leaders from congregations, schools, and non-profit organizations pledged, by institution, to sign up 10,500 voters and deliver them to the polls in the fall. Signups will take place both in congregations and institutions, and through blockwalks in surrounding neighborhoods.
Over the previous five months, Austin Interfaith leaders held over 250 small group "house meetings" with 2,500 participants to understand what issues communities are facing and to identify potential leaders from those conversations. What resulted is an agenda that includes workforce development and living wages, affordability and housing, community policing and safety, infrastructure and sustainability, healthcare, education, and immigration reform.
"It was exciting: clergy, teachers, parents, congregation members, healthcare workers, and union members all coming together around a shared vision for our county and with a practical plan to make it happen. This might be the largest and most diverse volunteer group in Austin working on voter turnout this fall," said Elisa Gonzales, a leader from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church who delivered the focus statement at the Delegates Assembly.
Joining the Austin Interfaith Delegates Assembly yesterday were representatives from the organization's expansion projects in Hays, Bastrop, Williamson, and Western Travis County, who are planning similar efforts in their communities. "We are one Central Texas community spanning many counties. We need to organize around a shared vision for the whole region," said Gary Duck, a Co-Chair of the event from St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church in Williamson County.
60 Austin Interfaith leaders packed into Austin City Council Chambers for a hearing on CodeNEXT to support speakers Florence Briceno from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic and Rev. Michael Floyd from All Saints Episcopal who testified for strong neighborhoods and affordability, and against displacement.
Austin Interfaith Holds City Council Candidate Forum, Time Warner Cable
When Torchy's Tacos re-submitted a two-year old bid to sell alcohol within 300 feet of Fulmore Middle School, they forgot to take into account the lasting power of Austin Interfaith. Leaders from neighboring Travis Heights Elementary PTA, St. Ignatius Catholic, Oak Creek Village Tenants Association and St. David's Episcopal Church were already organizing around funding for after-school programming and maintaining affordable housing in communities near the school when apartment complexes are redeveloped.Read more
Officials expect 80,000 patient visits this year, mainly from low-income or uninsured residents of Dove Springs, Montopolis and Del Valle. The one-stop shop will include access to on-site imaging services, a pharmacy, laboratory, pregnancy support, and hearing tests in addition to nutrition classes, same-day appointments when sick, dentist appointments, community space and a garden. University of Texas Dell Medical School students and new doctors will train at the center.Read more
Last July, Hidden Valley / High Meadows (mobile home) residents became distressed when lot rents for people on month-to-month leases were raised for the second time within a 12-month period. New rules mandated improvements and standardizations â€” adding new costs to residents â€” including deck and railing upgrades, paint jobs, skirting repair, shed standardization, and control over inside window coverings. Families were asked to demonstrate possession of a drivers' license to drive on the property, impacting hundreds of residents. Many families scrambled to comply; some left.Read more
When Austin Energy moved to more quickly cut off electricity from all families in arrears, including those who were not a part of the city's low-income Customer Assistance Program (CAP), Austin Interfaith stepped in to negotiate a better deal for those families making efforts to lower their debt.Read more
"It's about trying to create a different type of culture that allows for excellence and innovation," he said.Read more
The school gained signatures of support from 97 percent of teachers and staff, as well as support from 90 percent of its school community and board approval.
Why Customers Unpaid Bills are Piling Up at Austin Energy, Austin American Statesman
Said Strategy Team member Kayvon Sabourian:Read more