COVID-19 Project Overview
In Central Texas, the coronavirus pandemic leaves many in our community vulnerable. As a result of social distancing measures and new restrictions, some businesses were forced to lay off staff or to close their doors permanently. Following school closures this spring, many students and their families were cut off from the essential services they provide. With rising unemployment, food, and housing insecurity have not been far behind.
In response, federal, and state government made resources available, and regional nonprofits are working tirelessly to deliver essential services. But even without the added complications of coronavirus, understanding which services are available and how to access them can be confusing. Building on the 2-1-1 Navigation Center hosted by United Way for Greater Austin, ConnectATX helps ensure that Central Texans in need know exactly where to turn for support.
We launched ConnectATX in early March, and quickly pivoted to serve as our community’s centralized access point for updated, comprehensive information about COVID-19 resources.Amy Price, Navigation Center Vice President, United Way for Greater Austin
How it Helps
For more than 25 years, United Way for Greater Austin has run the 2-1-1 Navigation Center to help people navigate the complex system of health and human services throughout the state of Texas. It’s free, confidential, and just a phone call away.
ConnectATX brings this style of service to the next level here in Central Texas. This full-circle navigation system is designed to provide proactive assessment across a range of needs, which means a caller isn’t just getting an answer to the question at hand. The goal is they will get off the phone with an understanding of all of the resources available to meet their needs. Not only skills training to qualify for a new job, but transportation assistance that will help them arrive on time. Not only emergency food services, but rental assistance to help bridge the gap.
Central Texans can access ConnectATX through the self-service online platform or with support from a navigation professional by phone (and soon by chat!). Call 833-512-CATX or visit ConnectATX.org.
Connecting Central Texans with Critical Resources
ConnectATX couldn’t have arrived at a better time, launching in early March just weeks before the first shelter-in-place orders. ConnectATX helps families in the region navigate services including:
- Food assistance, including food pantries, school meals, delivery services, and community gardens
- Housing and utilities, directing families to temporary housing, shelters, or help for paying rent and utilities
- Transportation, with support including transportation vouchers, free and low-cost transportation, and medical transportation
- Job training and education, with programs for college access and persistence, ESL, and earning a GED, along with information on job training and certification
- Health and mental health, including low-cost clinics, prescription assistance, low-cost counseling, and support for substance abuse and recovery
- Parenting, family, and child care, such as pregnancy and postpartum support, child care centers and pre-k
With increasing need for emergency food access, the City of Austin designated ConnectATX to help connect community members with local food pantries, school meals, and related social services.
Central Texans can also access support for navigating federal and state benefits and resources specific to COVID-19, including testing, mental health support, and financial assistance.