The branch includes multiple strike teams and task forces, such as:
- Homelessness Task Force: develops short-term strategies (food access, personal hygiene) and long-term strategies (additional shelter beds, identification of quarantine facility) to address gaps in the homelessness response system related to COVID-19
- Food Access Task Force: collaborates with community partners to address food system issues related to the response, in addition to working on a longer-term strategy for addressing the anticipated increase in food access needs throughout the community
- Behavioral Health Task Force: coordinates with the local mental health authority, other mental health and substance abuse providers to address emerging community needs.
The Homeless Services Division of Austin Public Health (APH) has also increased services for homeless individuals, including adding hand-washing stations. The City launched an interactive online map to help people find the nearest site for services. According to the City, the map is regularly updated as additional services become available.
The City also said Saturday that APH Neighborhood Centers will begin providing emergency rent and utility assistance starting on Monday, April 6, in addition to their emergency food delivery services. Clients may call 512-972-5780 for assistance.
"We need to show more compassion during these uncertain times,” said Stephanie Hayden, APH's Director. “As COVID-19 runs its course in Austin, we need to ensure that there is equitable access to food and basic needs across our community – our Neighborhood Centers are partnering with others to address these needs."
The City has also created a new community forum, the ATX Emergency Food Systems Exchange, which aims to connect food assistance and volunteers with the people who need them.
For more information and updates on the City's COVID-19 response, visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:
- Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: City of Kyle extends local orders requiring child care facilities to remain closed
- Greater Austin Crime Commission gives tips for keeping local businesses safe during stay-home order
- Texas Health and Human Services launches 24/7 statewide mental health support line
- How some Austin restaurants are adapting to the impacts from the coronavirus
- Austin company letting people book trips where travel is prohibited, still denying refunds
- Drug testing for COVID-19 leaves lupus patients with low supply of medicine
- Which Central Texas counties have the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 per capita
- Austin ISD to close all schools indefinitely amid coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus in Texas: Gov. Abbott announces hospital capacity, new testing capabilities
- LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county