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Austin Offers $10M in COVID-19 Relief with RISE 2.0

Funds will be distributed through a randomized application selection process to residents impacted by COVID-19.

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Austin City Hall
Austin City Hall. Photo credit: Todd Ross Nienkerk / That Other Paper under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The City of Austin is offering $10 million in Relief in a State of Emergency (RISE) 2.0 funds to individuals in Austin and Travis County through RISE 2.0.  

RISE 2.0 funds come after the original $15 million of RISE funds were awarded to 20 non-profits and social services agencies in May and June. Most of the funds distributed to the original 20 agencies have been exhausted. While the original RISE funds were distributed to social services agencies, RISE 2.0 funds will be distributed directly to individuals who apply and are chosen through a randomized selection process. Chosen applicants will receive $2,000 per household. 

“This process allows us to get financial help to the people who need it in the most efficient way for everyone,” said Stephanie Hayden, Austin Public Health Director. “We want to remove barriers and make sure our community can easily access the services and finances we have available.” 

Eligibility Requirements 

  • At or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level; 
  • Resident of Austin or Travis County, Texas; 
  • 18 Years of age or older;
  • Experiencing hardship related to COVID-19; and 
  • Have not received other financial assistance in the past 30 days. 

Application Process 

  • Sept. 8-11: The phone bank (512-714-6950) will be open for questions from 7 AM -7 PM.
  • Sept. 14: Households can start the application process online (fund.uptogether.org/rise2) or through the phone bank. The online application form will be available in English and Spanish. The phone bank will be available in multiple languages. 
  • Sept. 21: Last day for households to apply. Applications must be submitted by 7 PM on this date.  
  • Sept. 22–Oct. 2: The phone bank will remain open during this time to answer any questions from the public.
  • Sept. 23-Oct. 6: The randomized application selection process will be completed, and applicants will be notified of whether or not they were selected.
  • Sept. 23-Oct. 30: Funds will be distributed to the chosen applicants. 

Fund Distribution 

If the selected individual applied online, they can receive the funds in one of the following ways:  

  • Direct ACH bank transfer (individuals who choose this option will receive the funds sooner)  
  • Virtual Prepaid Card (sent via email) 
  • Mailed Prepaid Card 
  • If the selected individual applied through the phone bank, they will receive the funds via a prepaid card distributed by El Buen Samaritano.  

RISE 2.0 funds were approved on June 4 when the Austin City Council passed Resolution #20200604-049 and Resolution #20200604-040. RISE 2.0 funds will be distributed by a third-party organization that was approved through a Request for Qualifications (RFQs) process.   

The third-party organizations that were chosen from the RFQ process, El Buen Samaritano and Family Independence Initiative (FII), are responsible for operating a phone bank and a centralized application and distribution process with a secure online portal. FII will manage the randomized application selection process. All funds will be distributed by Oct. 30, 2020.  

While there is $10 million allotted for RISE 2.0, approximately $1 million of that fund will be used for the administrative process to distribute the funds through third-party organizations. APH expects 4,500 households to benefit from the RISE 2.0 funds. 

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september 2020

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