New public health efforts focus on social services, homeless during COVID-19 pandemic

Talk 1370 Newsroom
April 04, 2020 - 1:23 pm
Homeless overpass

AUSTIN ( -- Austin's public health officials are launching new efforts to focus on social services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A social services branch has been established out of the Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center, including multiple strike teams to focus on efforts including homelessness, food acess, and behavioral health.

"The ability for everyone to participate in the public health response is in the best interest of our community’s safety as a whole," said Vella Karman, Interim Homeless Services Officer. "Our neighbors experiencing homelessness must have the information and resources they need to make the safest, smartest choices during the pandemic."

Austin Public Health's Neighborhood Centers will also begin providing emergency rent and utility assistance on April 6, in addition to their emergency food delivery services. While individual centers will remain closed to the public, clients may call 512-972-5780 for assistance.

"We need to show more compassion during these uncertain times," said Stephanie Hayden, APH Director. "As COVID-19 runs its course in Austin, we need to ensure that there is equitable access to food and basic needs across our community – our Neighborhood Centers are partnering with others to address these needs."

The city has added a map on its website detailing resources for basic needs. You can find that online at

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