Supporting portions of several counties, Caritas of Austin provides assistance in Travis, Williamson, and Bastrop Counties in Texas. Programs include food and free meals from a Community Kitchen as well as rent help from housing. The charity will also support immigrants and refugees in the region.
Caritas of Austin’s Community Kitchen will serve free lunches to all, five days per week. No one is turned away, and each day the charity will provide hot, nutritious lunches seniors and low income families. The Community Kitchen is operated primarily by volunteers and relies on donations. The other option, the Food Pantry provides low cost or maybe free take-home groceries for those who are experiencing an emergency.
The goal of the Housing Assistance resource is to help Travis County residents who are homeless or behind on their rent. The intent is to assist people that are coping with housing-related crisis situations with gaining access to funds for rent or deposits, and also on gaining long term stability in housing.
Stabilization from Caritas involves the prevention of homelessness. This may be funds for overdue costs. There is also assistance with returning to stable housing, with support services to help resolve any underlying issues. The other options, Permanent Supportive Housing, will be placement into a new home or apartment then ongoing advice.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF) provides assistance to help former service members and their families who are homeless or at risk of it. The goal is to increase the housing stability of the veteran and also end their struggles.
The program may offer Temporary Financial Assistance for rent or paying energy bills. The veteran will also benefit from Case Management, and this can guide participants through the process of making positive changes and moving toward becoming self-sufficient. Other components of SSVF is Job Readiness Training, Employment Services, Financial Literacy Training, and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Education. Clients will also get help in applying for benefits, such as help with completing forms for benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA) and other public assistance agencies.
The Employment Program provides opportunities for clients to find and keep jobs in Travis and Williamson County, or wherever they live. The goal is to prepare people so they can support themselves and their families. Clients of Caritas of Austin receive assistance with short-term job placement, as well as with long-term career development.
This service not only benefits clients on their path toward self-sufficiency, it also strengthens the greater community. The specific employment support services include Pre-Employment Preparation, which gives access to resources that help them achieve success in the workforce. This includes English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, job-readiness training, vocational certification, and assistance in obtaining professional certifications.
Caritas will also offer Referral and Placement, and there are employment specialists that work one-on-one with clients to match them with employers in the Travis region who need workers with a particular combination of skills, experience, and interests. There is also Work Authorization for clients, and they will need to undergo a pre-employment screening to ensure that they are eligible to work in the United States. Staff can help them gain US citizenship, employment authorization documents, photo Ids, Social Security Cards, and even I-94 documents.
Educational services offer individuals the opportunity to enrich their lives, gain new skills and work toward self-sufficiency. The service is unique in that the staff take a holistic approach to teaching, providing instruction in regard to necessary tools for achieving personal and financial goals, such as budgeting and more.
The Caritas Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement Program meets their immediate needs for food, safety, and affordable housing. The staff will also furnish referrals to programs and resources in Bastrop or Travis County that help them achieve self-sufficiency within a short period of time.
Specific services include help in obtaining housing, funds for move-in assistance for documented refugees, employment assistance, and accessing health-care. Immigrants can also benefit from English language courses and other types of educational services, such as financial assistance; transportation; and community services.
For more information, Caritas of Austin is based at 611 Neches St., Austin, Texas 78701. Or dial 512-479-4610.
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