Category Archives: Interesting Links

Coverage of local news articles concerning the homeless and hungry, as discussed during our general meetings

Last General Meeting of 2013

Good day, H2O-ers! It’s been a busy, fun-filled, volunteering semester. With our last event of 2013 means our last general meeting of 2013 as well. On 12/15, Service Coordinator Katie Ray led the meeting, recapping the past two weeks, briefing us on local news, and opening the floor to members for suggestions and critiques.

Those of us who have volunteered with Genesis Gardens (twice this semester) will find the topic of this video very familiar. The Community First village planned by Mobile Loaves & Fishes hopes to cultivate a community-centric area of affordable housing for the homeless in Austin by providing different means of paying for lodging and food. As the newscaster says, this has been a controversial idea, and during the meeting Katie led us through poignant topics of discussion.

Just the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyVaPKzHITI

KVUE news article and video:  http://www.kvue.com/news/local/First-look-at-new-community-for-Austins–231502631.html

Based on your feedback, we hope to volunteer at Genesis Gardens this coming semester. We are now setting up event days with several of the regular non-profits as well as branching out as we have done with GG this semester. We are working on changing a few things with our organization as well to make volunteering with us more available and possible.

We thank all of those who were able to attend and help us make our organization better! Look out for our e-mail next semester about our first meeting and event!

Have a safe and cheerful holiday season.

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Affordable Housing Bonds Vote Passed

During our third and fourth General Meetings, one of the topics we discussed was the November 2013 elections and the Keep Austin Affordable campaign we mentioned at the beginning of the semester. Since these meetings fell right before and after the elections, we pushed this topic again, and now that the results are in, we’d like to share them with you.

With a vote of about 61% to 39%, about 14,000 marginal difference, the $65 million affordable housing bond measure was passed by voters. This measure will help build, renovate, and repair housing in the Austin area for renting or sale at lower rates to accommodate Austin’s large low-income population.

This comes a year after a similar measure was rejected by the Austin population, which many sources attribute to a lack of a serious campaign. Well, this year proved otherwise.

To read more about this issue, visit these links:

There’s still a little bit more left to do, but we’ll keep you posted. The city will ratify the results on Nov. 18.

Second General Meeting — Street Treats at ACL: A Micro-Enterprising Opportunity for the Homeless

At this week’s general meeting (10/14), Service Coordinator Katie brought up a topic that was on our minds the past two weekends — ACL. If you went to either weekend, did you notice the silver Street Treats carts selling Blue Bell ice cream? Perhaps you noticed the familiar Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) logo we saw when we went to Genesis Gardens earlier this semester? Well, this non-profit was partnering with C3 and ACL organizers to provide a micro-enterprising opportunity to the homeless. That’s right, those were homeless vendors earning their own money in a dignified manner as part of MLF’s micro-opportunity business program.

To find out more, click on these links:

As a reminder, our meetings are every other week on Monday at 6:00 PM in BUR 130. Don’t be scared to come out and listen/participate in our discussion. We also provide snacks (this time, we had delicious, organic grapes)!

2W Recap (Social, General Meeting, & Double E)

These past two weeks have been new and exciting for H2O (so this is a long post). We had our first social in a very long time, held our first general meeting, and featured a double-event Saturday. Phew!

Last Saturday, several of our members came down to the Union Underground to socialize and play billiards (but mostly to socialize). We arrived unsure of our abilities, but once Jason and Rosary paired up together, they dominated. We met a new face and had a lot of fun enjoying each other’s company so much that we continued the conversation down to the Indian place on the Drag.

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Jamie, Lauren, Elizabeth, and Jason playing billiards

On Monday, service coordinator Katie Ray led the semester’s first general meeting in room BUR 130. The current local issue featured during the meeting was the Keep Austin Affordable campaign, which focuses on increasing awareness and garnering support for an affordable housing bond package on the November 2013 ballot. In particular, our meeting focused on Scott Clapper’s story in their video as a reminder of the diversity of circumstances that lead to people becoming homeless. Katie raised some interesting discussion questions, and we were glad to see many new and returning faces join in on the conversation.

Interested in learning more about our organization or other issues in the area? Join us for our next meeting on October 14 at 6:00 PM, same place!

This past Saturday, we had our double-event extravaganza! Our Google survey for the first time asked our volunteers to choose between two locations, Capital Area Food Bank and UUMC, and we had a terrific turn-out.

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Traditional group photo in front of UUMC — what a turn-out!

The group above is only part of our volunteers who came out Saturday morning, since a few who went to Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) are not pictured. This was H2O’s first time being a part of UUMC’s Brown Lunch program (they’ve been doing it for four Saturdays already!), but everyone agreed that it was a great experience. We manned the coffee station, passed out lunches, sorted trash, and were hospitality staff. Although the tasks weren’t exhausting, the people who grabbed lunch were all very appreciative our presence and efforts.

After we helped UUMC clean up and collect inventory, the group decided to try some Mediterranean food on 24th.

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H2O gathers around a circle at a café after volunteering

Unfortunately, no documentation was had of the group who went to CAFB. Nonetheless, the volunteers were with co-chair Jason and no doubt had a great time and were very pleased with their output at the end of the morning.

To volunteer with us, join our mailing list or join our facebook group (see “Contact Us!”)

-T

Austin May Remove Benches to Remove Homeless Group

The city of Austin spent $11.2 million renovating Brazos from Cesar Chavez to 11th St. last year.  APD Commander Troy Gay requested some of the benches that were part of the renovation be removed due to a rise in public nuisance cases.  If the benches are removed some say it would waste taxpayer money while some homeless say they don’t know where they will go next.

Check out KXAN’s pretty good video summary here, and The Statesman’s article here.

SXSW Homeless Hotspots

During SXSW last spring, Austin’s homeless population received national coverage.  A marketing agency outfitted several members of our homeless population with wireless internet transmitters.  People could then use the internet in exchange for a donation.  The project received varying opinions.

Check out NBC’s short video here and The New York Times’s article here.