American Red Cross of Central Texas is a community resource supporting residents in 9 counties in the Austin area through teaching first aid, CPR and other lifesaving skills, assisting military families and providing help to those affected by fires, floods and other natural disasters. All disaster support from the American Red Cross of Central Texas is free and includes shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. The help provided by the American Red Cross of Central Texas is supported by volunteers and financial contributions from the Austin and Central Texas community. This independent humanitarian organization led by volunteers is guided by a Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement. The Amercian Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton in the United States following the American Civil War and has provided community support all across the United States for more than 130 years. On average, volunteer Disaster Action Teams from American Red Cross of Central Texas respond to a house fire in Central Texas approximately every 48 hours.
Aunt Bertha is an online database resource connecting people to federal, state, county, city, neighborhood, and charity program information in their areas. Based in Austin and founded by a University of Texas graduate who is also a former human service delivery consultant, the Aunt Bertha website helps determine what programs someone is eligible for and how to apply for over 200 human service organizations in the Austin area. The goal of Aunt Bertha is to organize and make it easy to find human service program information in food, housing, health education, employment and more so people can help themselves by finding the programs they need and can qualify for online.
Austin Alcoholics Anonymous Hill Country Intergroup is a non-profit organization providing information and support for alcohol abuse recovery. Austin Alcoholics Anonymous is self-supporting and requires no dues or fees for membership. The primary purpose of Austin Alcoholics Anonymous is to help members stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety through a 12 step program. The 12 step method was first published in 1939 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith and is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from alcoholism. Austin Alcoholics Anonymous operates a 24 Hour Hotline providing information on AA meetings in the Austin area and maintains a website with information on Austin AA meetings and available community resources. There are hundreds of AA meetings in the Austin area including meetings targeted to the deaf and hard of hearing, women only, men only, Spanish speakers, smokers, and gay and lesbian.
Established in 1951 and supported by donations and grants, the Austin Child Guidance Center provides outpatient mental health services to families and children 17 years old and younger in the Austin area who are experiencing emotional, behavioral or social problems. Services at the Austin Child Guidance Center are offered on a sliding fee scale based on family size and income and insurance is accepted. No child is turned away from the Austin Child Guidance Center because of inability to pay. Families may be eligible for individual, family and group therapy, psychiatric evaluations and psychological assessments. In addition to mental health care evaluation and counseling services, the Austin Child Guidance Center offers parent education, parent coaching and parent workshops on a variety of topics including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), protecting children from bullying, strategies for temper tantrums, communicating with teens and other parenting skills. The Austin Child Guidance Center also offers a sliding fee scale walk-in clinic on Fridays from 2 PM to 4 PM in which no prior appointment time is required.
The Austin Disaster Relief Network is a network of churches, ministries and business leaders within the Austin Christian community working together to respond to the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of those affected by disaster in the Austin area. The Austin Disaster Relief Network collaborates with the City of Austin, surrounding counties in Central Texas, VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and other disaster relief organizations to organize resources needed in times of disaster including training volunteers to manage and staff emergency shelters, providing emergency shelters within churches facilities, supplying critical resources needed for those coming into emergency shelters such as hearing aid batteries, blankets, gas cards, bus tickets and other personal items, and sponsoring families affected by disaster to provide long-term relief.
Austin Memorial and Burial Information Society (AMBIS) is a nonprofit consumer association administered by volunteers that advocates a consumer's right to meaningful, dignified, and affordable end-of-life choices. Austin Memorial and Burial Information Society encourages individuals and families in the Austin area to plan creatively for end-of-life decisions through the use of advance planning and encourages consumers to make such decisions on the basis of sound information and thoughtful consideration, rather than under conditions of emotional strain and grief. Austin Memorial and Burial Information Society sponsors workshops on topics such as advance directives; hospice care; organ, tissue and body donation; family-directed funerals; natural, “green” burial; veterans benefits; and obituary writing. Austin Memorial and Burial Information Society members receive a yearly survey of the prices and choices at local funeral homes as well as a discount at select funeral homes.
Austin Travis County Integral Care provides community-based behavioral health and developmental disabilities services in Travis County including psychiatric evaluations, 24-hour crisis interventions, medication treatment, inpatient treatment, employment and vocational services, service coordination, family support and respite care, housing, information and referral, supported living and residential services. Austin Travis County Integral Care was previously known as the Austin Travis County Mental Health Mental Retardation Center (Travis County MHMR) until the name was changed to reflect evolving terminology and attitudes toward those needing mental health services. Help for mental health issues is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Crisis Hotline at 512-472-HELP (4357).
Since 1981, non-profit Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (CAFB) has provided emergency food assistance for individuals and families and nutritious meals for children through more than 350 agencies and schools throughout Austin and Central Texas. Food is not distributed directly from Capital Area Food Bank, but through human and social service agencies, schools and faith based food pantries that provide hot meals served on-site or groceries to those in need. Capital Area Food Bank collects and receives grocery products and food donations the U.S. Department of Agriculture, individuals and businesses as well as surplus food from various food companies and grocery stores that might otherwise go to waste. The largest local retail donor to Capital Area Food Bank is HEB Grocery Company. Forty percent of the people served by Capital Area Food Bank are children. Over 20 million meals and 25 million pounds of food were distributed through Capital Area Food Bank in 2010.
Caritas was founded in 1964 by Father Richard McCabe from the Catholic Diocese of Austin and today is a private non-profit providing families in need with emergency basics such as food, rent and utilities. Caritas is the largest source of non-governmental assistance for low-income families in Travis County and serves the working poor, the unemployed, the homeless, the near-homeless and documented refugees. Caritas offers education classes on practical topics to build life skills such as budgeting, money management, energy conservation, ESL and job readiness and placement. Caritas serves hot meals Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 12:30 PM to individuals and families in need with no questions asked at the Caritas Community Kitchen and also operates a take-home food pantry.
The Christi Center, formerly known As For The Love Of Christi, provides free grief support in Austin and the Central Texas area to grieving individuals and families for as long as they need it, regardless of circumstances. For The Love Of Christi was founded by Susan and Don Cox in 1987 after their daughter, Christi, was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver in downtown Austin. Peer-based, loss-specific grief support groups facilitated by trained facilitators and supervised by a licensed social worker at no charge are open to any child over the age of five, teen, or adult who is grieving the loss of a loved one.
The Dispute Resolution Center is a nonprofit organization was founded in 1983 with seed money provided by the Austin Young Lawyers Association that provides conflict or dispute resolution services for people in the Austin area. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) through mediation is the process of involved parties meeting in a neutral setting to work out their own solutions to conflicts without the necessity of legal intervention. Communication during dispute resolution is facilitated by a trained mediator. The type of conflicts that are often successfully resolved through ADR at the Dispute Resolution Center include neighbor issues, divorce and parenting issues, real estate problems, landlord and tenant disagreements and business small claims. A nominal fee is requested from both parties, but fees can be reduced or waived when appropriate. The Dispute Resolution Center also provides mediation training for professionals needing continuing eduction credits, court appointed mediators and others requiring trained mediation skills in organizations and businesses.
Family Eldercare is a not-for-profit agency founded in 1982 with the goal of helping older adults remain independent and living in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. Family Eldercare provides a wide range of services and support on a sliding fee scale for the elderly, adults with disabilities and their caregivers in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties including in-home personal care, cleaning services for senior independent living, court-appointed legal guardianship, money management services, geriatric consultation and housing at Lyons Gardens, a 54 unit independent senior living community available to low-income seniors age 62 and older. Every summer Family Eldercare sponsors a Summer Fan Drive to purchase and distribute fans as relief from life-threatening heat for those who do not have or cannot afford a fan or air-conditioning in the Austin area.
Foundation Communities is a nonprofit organization operating 14 affordable apartment and duplex communities in Austin. Founded in 1990 by members of the University of Texas Student Housing Cooperative, Foundation Communities works to help families with low incomes to permanently improve their educational and financial standing with on-site learning centers providing after-school and summer youth programs, teen technology activities and adult classes. Foundation Communities also operates Community Tax Centers, a program based on the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax program, providing free income tax preparation to individuals with no dependents earning up to $25,000 annually and families earning up to $50,000 or more depending on the number of dependents.
Hands On Central Texas is a volunteer matching program of United Way Capital Area that links volunteers in the Austin area to volunteer opportunities and projects. Hands On Central Texas provides volunteer opportunities to over 10,000 people a year and provides more than 5,600 volunteer referrals to nonprofit organizations in Central Texas. Hands On Central Texas is part of the Hands On Network and the Points of Light Institute, a volunteer network of corporate, faith and nonprofit organizations in the United States.
Hospice Austin is a non-profit organization providing interdisciplinary pallative care to terminally ill patients and their families who live in Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop, and Caldwell Counties regardless of their ability to pay. Established as a grass-roots, community based program in 1979, the emphasis on care at Hospice Austin is supporting individuals with life limiting illnesses in a comfortable, pain free environment where they can share the company of loved ones. Besides family centered end-of-life health services such as medical and nursing care, Hospice Austin offers spiritual and emotional support, social work, personal care, special therapies, volunteer and bereavement services.
Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas is a non-profit public service designed to help people who are ineligible for legal aid and are able to pay normal attorney fees, but because of lack of experience with the legal system or fear of the potential cost need help finding an attorney. Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas helps determine if the problem is of a true legal nature and can make referrals to other service agencies when appropriate and can provide an unbiased referral to an attorney who has experience in the appropriate area of law. The referral is free and there is generally a $20 charge for the initial 30 minute consultation. After the first thirty minutes, consultations are subject to the lawyer’s regular hourly rates and lawyers will charge for their services if they are hired for legal representation.
LifeWorks non-profit agency provides a network of services for youth and families in Austin including free and affordable counseling, services to runaway and homeless youth, parenting and educational support for teenage parents and GED and life skills training. LifeWorks is the largest provider of free and affordable counseling to youth and families in the Austin area. Social and counseling services are provided through community-based centers as well as in area elementary, middle and high schools. Lifeworks has nine service locations including the only 24-hour walk-in emergency shelter for youth from ages 10 to 19 in and around Austin. Any young person in need may access the emergency shelter and its services for a place to sleep, food, clothing, medical care, educational services, and counseling
Meals on Wheels and More began as an East Austin-based, grassroots program of eight volunteers serving 29 home-bound seniors in 1972 and has expanded into an independent non-profit, multi-service organization delivering meals to thousands of home-bound elderly throughout the Austin area. Meals on Wheels and More also serves home-delivered meals to the disabled and low-income children in the Austin community. Meals on Wheels and More offers other programs designed to keep the low-income elderly healthy and living in their own homes such as free veterinary services and pet food, minor home repairs and transportation to medical appointments.
Founded in 1970 by a group of volunteer doctors and nurses, People's Community Clinic is a non-profit, primary health care facility providing medical, counseling and health education services at reasonable costs to medically uninsured individuals and families in the Austin area or those who are eligible for government-sponsored care such as Medicare, Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). Patients make appointments and all services are offered on a sliding scale basis, but are not free. Services include prenatal care, pediatrics, gynecology, family planning, family practice, internal medicine, eldercare and disease management for adults with chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
SafePlace has provided shelter and counseling to those experiencing rape, domestic violence and sexual abuse including past childhood sexual abuse since 1972. SafePlace maintains an emergency shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence at the Kelly White Family Shelter and also an off-site shelter for men seeking safety. Safeplace has a 24-hour Hotline at (512) 267-SAFE (7233) or 927-9616 TTY for the Deaf community for crisis phone support and information. SafePlace provides hospital advocacy through accompaniment and support to survivors of rape during forensic and physical medical examinations and legal advocacy for survivors of domestic violence as they navigate the court systems including obtaining protective orders and referrals to free and sliding scale legal assistance. SafePlace also promotes safe and healthy relationships for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence through life skill classes and community education.
The SIMS Foundation provides mental health and addiction recovery services for Austin-area musicians and their families. SIMS was founded in 1995 by the friends and family of Sims Ellison, a talented young Austin musician whose battle with depression ended in suicide. Late night hours, the rising cost of living and increasing competition for jobs in the Austin music scene and proximity to alcohol and drugs can result in depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and alcohol and drug abuse for the musicians who make Austin their home and perform at the over 200 live music venues in Austin. Many musicians are uninsured or underinsured and cannot pay for counseling or addiction treatment. Treatment is arranged for professional musicians or their immediate family members living within a 50-mile radius of Austin from a network of 60 therapists and treatment centers after an in-depth clinical assessment from the two on-staff licensed counselors at SIMS. Musicians needing help can call the SIMS Confidential Clinical Line (512) 494-1007 or reach SIMS through the clinical intake form on the SIMS website.
The Travis County Veterans Service Office helps military veterans, VA dependents and VA survivors in the Austin area with information and assistance in obtaining all the benefits to which they are entitled from the United States Veterans Administration. Services include direct help with filling out paperwork and general support and assistance with needs such as VA home loans, VA educational benefits, obtaining discharge papers, replacement of lost medals and awards, burial arrangements in VA cemeteries, medical treatment in VA medical facilities, disability benefits and benefits for the survivors of veterans.
United Way Capital Area connects people in need of help with the appropriate community resources in Austin. The United Way Capital Area also raises and distributes funds to a variety of Austin support groups, including Communities In Schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Any Baby Can and the Austin Child Guidance Center. The primary focus of United Way Capital Area is health-centered services for those most at risk with limited resources, particulary children and the elderly. United Way Capital Area serves 10 counties in Central Texas: Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson. If you need help, call 2-1-1 any time of the day or night. Anyone can call 2-1-1 for free information and referrals to health and human service agencies, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, disaster relief resources, and volunteer opportunities for help regarding health care, employment, educational, legal, housing, counseling, transportation needs and other support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Wonders And Worries is a non-profit founded in 2001 with initial funding from the Lance Armstrong Foundation that provides individual and group professional counseling to help children and their families cope when a parent or caregiver has a chronic or life-threatening illness at any stage of the illness. Almost 25 percent of the adults diagnosed with cancer have a child age 18 years or younger. Services at Wonders And Worries are free of charge, available in English and Spanish and are open to people of any age, gender, socio-economic status and ethnicity. Both formal and informal recreational type support groups are available for children, teens and parents.