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Tale of Two Austins infographic - FINAL

Tale of Two Austins infographic - FINALtaleof2austins.workforce final






Click the infographics to read client stories from our previous Tale of Two Austins campaigns

The Salvation Army

When Sandra lost her job she was quickly overwhelmed with rent and utility bills. Needing a place to go, she found the Austin Shelter for Women and Children (ASWC) operated by The Salvation Army.  The Salvation Army helped Sandra find funds to fix her car, paving the way for her to secure employment. She participated in job training through AARP and soon established permanent employment at AARP’s headquarters. Through Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, she found her own senior living apartment. Because of these supportive services, Sandra is today a positive, energetic and confident woman who wants to help other senior citizens gain employment and housing as she has.

Contact: Jan Gunter, 512-944-0572

Meals on Wheels and More

Jo_Macdonald_photoJo constantly worries about making ends meet. The 86-year-old widow struggles to get by on a small, monthly Social Security check. But Ms. Macdonald doesn't fret about food. That's because every weekday, one of Meals on Wheels and More's dedicated volunteers delivers a hot, nutritious meal right to her doorstep. Ms. Macdonald also receives, once a week, a seven-day supply of frozen breakfasts. "I don't know how I'd eat without Meals on Wheels," she says. "Meals on Wheels does more than nourish my body. They also nourish my soul. They help me keep my independence."

Contact: Thad Rosenfeld, 512-628-8131


StorySylvia grew up with her mom and dad and six other siblings. She went to live with her aunt when she was eight years old once her parents split up, and she lived with her for six years. Due to conflict in the home and overcrowding, Sylvia's step-sister referred her to LifeWorks and she moved into the Supportive Housing Program in August 2014. She had many transitions on her own and was constantly faced with not able to make ends meet. This left her with several evictions and outstanding debts. Resolving this is her main focus now while in the Supportive Housing Program in order to secure permanent housing in the future. Sylvia currently works full time at Image API as a prepper; when she’s not working she spends time with her two boys, and her extended family. Her future goals are entirely about providing everything she can to her boys, to get to a place where she’s not struggling to get by, and to be able to reach self-sufficiency in the near future. In her own words, “LifeWorks has given me hope and they have shown me you don’t have to give up- you always have options.” She knows she’s been through some hardships and that, “there is nothing wrong with asking for help, things will always turn out okay and people are willing to help.”

Contact: Anne Broyles, 512-735-2455 or Erin Whelan, 512-735-2400

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Society of St. Vincent de PaulA couple recently fell behind on their bills. The mother, employed, lost her job due to time away from work helping friends, despite having secured permission from her employer to do so. The father began working, installing appliances and earning $9.00/hour.  They were able to pay their utilities bill, but owed $1,100 in rent. They received $400 rental assistance from Travis County, however, the landlord wouldn’t accept partial payment. Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteers contacted the landlord, pledged $250 to secure the balance of the rent, and visited him in person. The landlord then accepted the pledge, along with the husband’s $450 paycheck plus the Travis County funds. The dad has recently secured a steady job, and the mom is actively looking for work via the Texas Workforce Commission.

Contact: Midge Beard, 512-251-6995

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area

Melanie_Webster_2At age 15, Melanie (Mah-Lah-Nee) Webster faced a tough reality. In order for her and her younger brother to eat and keep utilities on, she had to get a job. Afraid to admit her problems to anyone, Melanie spent most days alone. She initially joined the Boys & Girls Club because she did not have a ride home from school. “What I found there saved me,” Melanie said. The caring, adult mentors lined up help for Melanie. She became involved in numerous programs and focused on her academics. Melanie was recently named Texas Youth of the Year, has won $10,000 in scholarships, and will attend the University of Texas as Austin this fall.

Contact: Julie Barschow, 512-554-1930

Foundation Communities


When Leslie Goodson and her three sons moved into an Austin homeless shelter, she felt like her world was crumbling. Leslie had overcome a lot already – her first son’s life-threatening illness and the sudden death of her husband. Leslie learned about Foundation Communities while at the shelter. With Foundation Communities' support, she gradually managed to get back on her feet and provide her family with a safe, affordable place to call home. Since moving into one of their communities, Leslie has taken advantage of their financial stability programs and successfully completed their Free Minds adult education course. Leslie is truly thriving and hopes to open her own restaurant one day.

Contact: Alyah Khan, 512-610-4009

The Arc of the Capital Area

IMG_1037ArcRptMaria faces many of the common challenges that parents of children with special needs meet. She adopted her daughter Azucena as a newborn who’d survived a difficult birth and has since been diagnosed with Autism. Maria is a cancer survivor and her family fell behind on bills, tuition, and rent as a result of her medical treatment. Her husband picked up extra work and Maria, a stay at home mom, began selling piñatas out of their home for extra money. Azucena’s family went to The Arc for assistance with the Guardianship process and discovered they were eligible for crisis assistance as well. This helped them pay their debts. She was embarrassed to ask for help but knows that as a family of a child with special needs, sometimes they must reach out. She has said, "words cannot describe the gratitude I have in my heart for The Arc of the Capital Area, without this help I don’t know where my family would be".

Contact: Katy Rothfelder, 512-476-7044

Capital IDEA

Danielle and daughterDanielle planned a career in the Navy, but on ship day she found out she was pregnant. Unemployed and with a newborn, Danielle struggled to find housing and cover her family’s basic needs. Even with government assistance, homelessness was a constant threat. Danielle enrolled in Capital IDEA to find a way out of poverty, and got a job as a healthcare temp while pursuing her education. Capital IDEA provided Danielle with tuition assistance for college and access to early childhood development programs for her daughter. With skills Danielle gained in classes and in meetings with her Capital IDEA Career Navigator, she’s earned three promotions and her career plans offer income security for her family.

Contact: Liz Ramon, 512-485-9341

Caritas of Austin


Within one year, Sharon, age 61, had multiple strokes and was battling breast cancer. Because of Austin's cost of living, she was living in a 5-bedroom boarding house with 10-12 people residing there. Caritas of Austin helped prevent her from eviction and also helped her move into a 1-bedroom apartment she can afford. Sharon's Caritas case worker has also assisted with her medical care, food and transportation needs, and application for long-term benefits to give her a sustainable income. Sharon said, "Caritas has truly been a life saver...I am just thankful to be alive".

Contact: Lindsey Dickson, 512-646-1265

Any Baby Can


Before Evelyn's family came to Any Baby Can, they were able to maintain daily expenses but had no financial safety net. So, when Evelyn needed surgery and an expensive medical device to enable her to hear and develop speech, her parents faced the unthinkable: choose basic needs like rent or groceries over medical care that would prevent developmental delays for their child. In part, Any Baby Can served Evelyn's family by negotiating reduced rates for medical procedures and securing funds for medical costs. Today, Evelyn is a healthy, chatty little girl and her family is financially stable.

Contact: John Branham, 512-334-4426

Accessible Housing Austin!


Elainna is a vibrant young woman with a warm smile. The oldest of several children, she grew up in Austin and graduated from Pflugerville High School. Nine years later, she developed a skin disorder that caused her to have chronic arthritis and difficulty walking. Unable to work, she was able to obtain housing through Accessible Housing Austin!. Elainna and her son are very happy in their new home and neighborhood. Elainna feels safe letting her son play outdoors and plans to open a Southern Cooking food trailer. Her son loves his teachers and is doing much better at his new school. Watch a video about Elainna here!

Contact: Isabelle Headrick, 512-442-6680

HealthStart Foundation


Tanisha’s parents wanted to try healthy fruits and vegetables, but could not afford to gamble with limited grocery money to buy something the family might not eat. But HealthStart’s early health education curriculum taught Tanisha to ask for snap peas and water instead of chips and soda, which enables her whole family to eat a healthier diet. Good health is the foundation of a successful life, and Tanisha’s family is building that foundation every day, thanks to HealthStart.

Contact: Robin Herskowitz, 512-782-4355