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Austin City Council passes community resilience plan

The plan prepares the city to survive catastrophic events. It will also focus on limiting racial, economic and social disparities people may face.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council on Thursday passed Item 22, a multi-departmental community resilience plan that prepares the City to help Austinites survive catastrophic events with a focus on addressing economic, social and racial disparities. 

Along with the City's community resilience plan, the council is also hoping for the development of successful community partnerships and hiring a chief resilience officer.

Councilmember Alison Alter said this has to be a joint effort between many departments for it to be successful.

"This is not just something we made up out of cloth," said Alter. "There's a whole movement among cities to recognize that our health and our well-being in our cities is only as resilient as our most vulnerable in our community are."

According to a press release from the City of Austin, the vision behind the community resilience plan builds on Austin’s successful climate resilience work while seeking to more deeply address the chronic stressors that undermine community resilience putting some of Austin’s individuals and families at greater risk, particularly during catastrophic events such as the current crisis. 

"This resolution is an attempt to have an eye on recovery and look to shape our future in what could be a new reality, and we need to build stronger communities that can survive, adapt and thrive through what may become constant change," said Alter.

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Item 22 is sponsored by Councilmember Leslie Pool and co-sponsored by Mayor Adler and Council Members Alter, Harper-Madison and Tovo. 

The project will be funded in large part by the city's portion of the federal CARES Act. 

“We are in the trenches at this moment, but even as we fight those daily battles, we are also planning for recovery and looking forward to the future,” said Councilmember Pool. “As we do that, we need to ensure that Austin’s future is focused where it should be – on building community resilience for the next and the next crisis and for the daily crises that are so very real for many families in our city.”

“We see now, more than ever, how important it is for Austin to be resilient," Mayor Adler added. "This initiative will make resiliency part of our everyday lives going forward.” 

The timeline for the project is not clear. Alter said there are many pieces that have to come together for this to happen successfully.

She also mentioned two other resolutions that could supplement this initiative.

  • Item 23 establishes three funds for nonprofits, childcare, and local small businesses to access through grants, loans and technical assistance. It also creates an Economic Response Dashboard that tracks public and private money allocated to COVID-19 relief.
  • Item 61 establishes the Austin Civilian Conservation Corps to employ those who lost their jobs or faced economic hardship due to the pandemic. 

It is based on the original New Deal program with the purpose of employing those who needed jobs. Both short-term and long-term options would be available.

"We want to structure this so there is some sustainability," Alter said.

More information about the resilience plan and the rest of the agenda city council has been considering can be found here

WATCH: Austin City Council working to help the homeless | KVUE

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