The City of Austin Economic Development Department announced two grant programs to support and sustain local creatives and organizations facing extreme hardships due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund ($1.5 million in $1000 grants) for immediate emergency needs of Austin’s most vulnerable musicians and the Austin Creative Space Disaster Relief Program ($1 million in $50,000 grants) for organizations and independent artists facing displacement and difficulty paying rent for their commercial creative spaces. Details and application dates are below.
Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund
The Austin City Council approved Ordinance No. 20200423-067 on April 23, 2020 to designate $1.5 million for the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund. Musicians that experienced an economic hardship due to COVID-19 may apply for a $1,000 grant to cover immediate emergency needs. The Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund application will be live and accepting eligible submissions through the MusiCares Foundation on a first-come first-served basis starting on Monday, June 8th, 10am CST. Austin musicians are encouraged to prepare their answers and documentation in advance by reviewing the checklist prior to the launch date. Visit ATXrecovers.com to preview program guidelines, eligibility requirements, and a checklist of application questions.
As part of an existing partnership with the City of Austin, the Austin Music Foundation will provide consultation to potential applicants needing help preparing documentation for the application. City staff is also working with additional local community organizations and music industry leaders to help promote the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund. These efforts will ensure the most vulnerable musicians are aware of the opportunity and are prepared to apply once the application is live June 8.
These limited dollars are focused on the most vulnerable musicians in Austin, defined as those with two months or less in living expenses currently available. Those not eligible to apply are encouraged to connect with helpful resources and opportunities at ATXrecovers.com. Austin musicians who have already received a grant from the “MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund” are not eligible to apply.
Application Preview: Wednesday, May 27 – Sunday, June 7
Application Opens: Monday, June 8, 10:00 a.m. CST
Application Closes: Friday, June 12, 2020, 5:00 p.m. CST
For more information, including guidelines and eligibility questions, visit ATXrecovers.com or email MusicDisasterRelief@austintexas.gov or call 512-978-7769.
Austin Creative Space Disaster Relief Program
The Austin City Council approved Resolution No. 20200423-040 on April 23, 2020 to provide $1 million for the Austin Creative Space Disaster Relief Program. This grant will provide direct support to for-profit live music venues, performance spaces, art galleries, arts-focused nonprofits and individual artists facing temporary or permanent displacement.
Applicants may apply for up to $50,000 toward unpaid commercial rent and to defray rent hikes, property acquisition costs, or other space-related needs such as facility improvements or relocation-related expenditures. A Grant Review Committee comprised of public and private sector leaders in the arts, banking, and real estate sectors established by a Joint Working Group of the Music and Arts Commissions will evaluate the applications and make final recommendations for awards. The grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, and priority will be given to organizations or individuals confronting immediate and critical needs. Organizations serving historically underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply.
Application Opens: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 1:00 p.m. CST
Virtual Information Meeting: Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. CST
Application Closes: Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. CST
Grant Awardees Announced: Week of June 29, 2020
For more information, including guidelines and eligibility visit ATXrecovers.com or email CreativeSpaceRelief@austintexas.gov or call 512-974-7806.
From the City of Austin: Austin Public Health (APH) has published a color-coded chart to help residents of Austin-Travis County understand the stages of risk and provide recommendations on what people should do to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new risk-based guidelines set out five distinct stages of risk, from the lowest threat, Stage 1, through the most serious, Stage 5, along with recommended behaviors for each stage. View the Risk-Based Guidelines HERE.
Based on an assessment using provisional modeling, Austin Public Health currently considers Austin-Travis County to be in the Stage 3 risk category.
For lower-risk individuals, defined as those with no substantial underlying health conditions who have a lower risk of complication and death from COVID-19, the recommendations are as follows:
Stage 1: Practice good hygiene, stay home if sick, and avoid other people who are sick. APH is working on recommendations for maximum sizes of gatherings. Individuals are advised they are safe to return to work at all businesses.
Stage 2: Includes the recommendations for Stage 1 and adds: Maintain social distancing and wear fabric face coverings in public. Individuals are urged to avoid dining and shopping except with precautions, and to avoid gathering in groups of more than 25 people. They are advised they are safe to return to work at essential and reopened businesses.
Stage 3: Includes the recommendations for Stage 2 and also urges individuals to avoid non-essential travel, all social gatherings, and any gatherings of more than 10 people.
Stage 4: Includes the recommendations for Stage 3 and advises individuals they are safe to return to work, and dine and shop, only at “expanded essential businesses”. This category will be defined shortly.
Stage 5: Includes the recommendations for Stage 4 and urges individuals to avoid all gatherings outside of the household and avoid dining and shopping except as essential. In this stage it is considered safe to return to work at essential businesses only.
APH is currently exploring the most effective indicators to help determine the level of risk in the local community. Provisional triggers are being modeled based on the number of hospitalizations because of their general correlation with numbers of cases, use of ventilators, deaths, and availability of effective treatment and vaccination. While the new guidelines are primarily designed as a resource to help individuals modify their behavior to protect themselves and others against transmission of COVID-19, they will also be used to inform APH recommendations around when restrictions on gatherings, business operations, and events should be loosened or tightened in the months ahead.
By encouraging a cautious, phased approach to normalizing activity, underpinned by medical data, APH hopes to minimize the risk of a further spike in transmissions that would cause further economic disruption and hardship to the community.
Risk Based Guidelines – FINAL(1)
For additional information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
On May 8th, Travis County Judge Eckhardt and Mayor Steve Adler extended the Stay Home-Work Safe orders. The City’s orders (Stay Home Work Safe Order Extension) are in place through May 30th, 2020. From the Mayor’s office, here is some important information about the extended orders:
• Stay home except for essential activities, essential businesses, and services reopened by the Governor’s Order GA-21
• Face coverings are required when outside your home if you’re over 6 years old, with some exceptions
• Do not gather with people outside of your household. Non-essential businesses and non-essential activities including social gatherings are not allowed, with some exceptions
• Continue to practice excellent hygiene. Keep a 6 feet physical distance between you and members outside your household, wear a face covering, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and disinfect frequently touched services.
The number of confirmed cases in Austin and Travis County is now 2071, up from 1683 last Friday. For more city resources relating to COVID-19, visit http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19. Free testing for the public is now available. You can take the self-assessment to register here.
Today, March 26th, Austin City Council approved several measures to assist our community during the COVID-19 crisis, including help for small businesses, workers, and residents. Council Member Pool supported these measures and helped with a plan to reduce utility bills, which may rise significantly with most of us having to remain home during this time.
Help for Small Business, Workers, and Residents:
- The Council created a temporary “Bridge Loan Program” that is an initiative brought by the Economic Development Department to help fill growing financial gaps for small businesses (Item 88 ). Council also worked to amend the proposed criteria for those loans to include “commercial and multifamily real estate” to help small property landlords, and reduced the number of required employees for small business to one (1) which is intended to help contract-type workers such as hair stylists.
- The Council approved another Economic Development Department initiative that raised the amount of money available for small business loans through the city’s Small Business Program (Item 89 ).
- Council passed an initiative to quickly craft further programs and options (Item 91 ) to support small and local businesses and workers affected by the economic challenges with COVID-19.
- Another measure approved by Council, and co-sponsored by CM Pool, will identify multiple ways to reduce utility bills for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic (Item 92 ), including adjusting the criteria for emergency financial aid.
- And finally, Council approved a longer time period of eviction protection for tenants (Item 90 ) by requiring landlords to give 60 days for tenants to make payment arrangements before notice to vacate can be given.
There are other measures that can be explored, such as expanded rental assistance for our community; Council requested that the Economic Development Department craft some options for that expanded assistance for the next meeting on April 9.
For Commercial & Residential Building Plan Review and Inspections
The City of Austin’s Development Services Department would like to invite you to attend the fourth and final quarterly Building Plan Review and Inspections Stakeholder Meeting of 2019, on Tuesday, November 19th from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The November 19th meeting will combine updates from Commercial and Residential plan review, inspection teams, and partnering departments. Topics will include updates on:
- Staffing and organizational changes
- Process improvements
- Performance updates
- Current initiatives
Seats are limited, so we encourage you to register soon.
If you have any questions or suggested topics for discussion at future meetings, please email Emlyn Lee.
November 19, 2019, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
One Texas Center, 3rd Floor, Room 325
RSVP: Register Now