Austin and Travis County church assistance programs.
A network of churches in Austin Texas help the poor and people that are struggling. The assistance available from each church will vary, but there are many locations in Travis County to try for assistance with paying for rent, electric bills, or other expenses. The main programs which may be available (depending on funding) are as follows.
Volunteers and donations at a church may allow the following types of support. There may be food or baked goods; money for paying rent to stop homelessness; utility help including water, gas, or electric bills; furniture vouchers; baby supplies; and immigration services including ESL classes. Much more may be offered too, but the programs do vary.
Several sites, and Baptist Community Center at 2000 E 2nd St., Austin, Texas, 78702 (call 512-478-7243) is one of them, offer an on-site food pantry or soup kitchen. When it comes to the food bank, these generally require appointments in order to use one. However a soup kitchen is usually open for anyone that needs a hot meal. Whether they are homeless, jobless, an immigrant, or stranded traveler, soup kitchens can feed the hungry.
The walk-in pantries may have groceries, baby formula, and fruits. Some have a walk-in baked goods distribution, which can also pass out bread, biscuits and pastries, rolls, and more depending on donations received from local Austin bakeries.
Specialty items may be offered from multiple sites. One example, Kingdom of God Christian Center (5811 Berkman Dr, Austin, Texas, 78723, phone 512-926-5422), tries to provide fresh food items. They offer fresh produce, fruits, and vegetables a couple times per month. Many stores donate surplus items as well. These types of goods are very valuable for children and the elderly in the area, who often have special nutritional needs.
Austin churches offer limited financial assistance as well. The aid is normally from Community Assistance Centers, including Greater Mt. Zion Church (address - 4301 Tannehill Ln, Austin, TX, 78721, phone 512-469-9020). For low income families in the immediate area, there may be some funds to help them make it through a short term crisis.
There may be money to pay for mortgages, utility bills, or rental costs. For an uninsured person (or even immigrants) some medical care may be provided by a church, mainly in the form of prescription medications. Some locations even help with local transportation in Travis County, as a church may provide either gasoline vouchers and/or help a family find a mechanic that is part of the church to repair a car for work. All assistance is dependent on available funds.
Some of the churches also help with other needs of their client, that are focused on ending poverty. This is when money (or services) help clients obtain ID or birth certificates. After all having some of these documents may help a person find a job, or assist them as they seek benefits such as food stamps or section 8 rental vouchers.
St. Mary Cathedral (910-A San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, Texas, 78701, phone 512-476-3750) as well as many others are part of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul. This is a religious group made up of volunteers that help the less fortunate. They tend to offer many of the services listed above as well, including rent and more. Westover Hills Church of Christ is another site at 8332 Mesa Dr. Austin, TX, 78759, phone 512-345-6386. Or clients can find other low income assistance programs for residents living in poverty.
St. Austin Catholic Church (location 2026 Guadalupe, Austin, TX, 78705, dial 512-477-1589) is one of the many centers that offer outreach programs. These are generally inclusive of many different needs, and it can include material goods, vouchers, and the like. Assistance is limited, therefore the charities will often employ a lottery system.
- There may be vouchers to pay for eye exams or new prescription glasses. This will generally be for children and/or people without insurance.
- Local churches have clothing vouchers to be redeemed at thrift stores, including St. Vincent de Paul.
- Single moms or new parents can seek free baby stuff, as a newborn can be very expensive to a household budget.
- 7 day bus passes for travel in Austin.
- PayLess boots for work, uniforms for school or work, pants, and more. If a low income family turns to a church for these items they should bring a letter from employer stating employment is current.
With the large number of Spanish speakers and immigrants in Travis County, charities including Hope Lutheran Church ( 6414 N Hampton Dr. Austin, Texas, 78723, 512-926-8574) work to help them get settled in the area. These religious groups, some of which are Christian and others are different religions, provide them food, clothing, information on housing or deposit programs, and much more. They also help them transition into the region by offering English as Second Language classes and help immigrants get GED as well. Many volunteers, some of whom were immigrants themselves, volunteer their time for these sites.
Every assistance program that is available from a church in Travis County is very limited. Clients may be eligible based on their income, and they also need to live within the boundaries of the parish. Some charities will offer support to people that live outside the area as well, if they do not have another way to get financial aid or material goods. Use the search bar at the top of the page to search for a church.