Austin Pathways Raises Over $30K for Housing Authority Residents

Beth PhillipsUncategorized

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Austin Pathways raised $34,212 during Amplify Austin, doubling last year’s total of more than $17,000. One hundred percent of the funds, generously donated by 215 individuals, community partners and local businesses, provide direct support for programs like the Housing Authority of the City of Austin’s (HACA) scholarship and Family Self-Sufficiency programs for public and affordable housing residents.

HACA and Austin Pathways have awarded more than 500 scholarships to public and affordable housing residents since 2001. Austin Pathways also provides services like child care and transportation to help families and individuals who are working to move out of public housing.

Yvonne Alaniz was awarded a scholarship from HACA and completed her degree and financial literacy training and qualified for a down payment on a home, where she now lives with her four children.

Three HACA employees served as team captains, hosting fundraising pages dedicated to supporting the residents they serve. Matching funds donor Rex Jones of Apartment Management Professionals and his staff helped raise funds for the Housing Choice Voucher team. Italex and Ryan Companies also provided seed funding.

“We know the difference that a bus pass to school can make,” Jones said. “Our team is proud to help.”

HACA Community Director Crystal James attended a Black History Month event at Dropbox in part to learn how children at HACA can aspire to be tech entrepreneurs. A few weeks later, Dropbox employees donated $1,025 to James’ fundraising campaign, which Dropbox will match.

“I am passionate about extending my blessings to others,” James said, “whether it’s professional assistance/guidance to family and friends, or mentoring and creating opportunities for those who are less fortunate striving to seek self-sufficiency.”

Angie Cortez, who has worked for HACA for 40 years, raised $500 for the Employee Recognition team. Her aim was to raise funds for seniors in public housing to continue computer literacy training.

“When they are learning, their minds are active,” Cortez said. “Knowing how to use the computer opens up a whole new world.”

HACA Board Chairman Carl Richie knows first-hand the power of education. Richie grew up in public housing in Wichita Falls, and went to school on a scholarship. He graduated from the University of Houston with a law degree and went on to become a public servant. Today he is senior vice president of the National Organization of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Richie’s fundraising campaign was bolstered by longtime members of the community, including Mike Toomey, Rusty Kelley, Robert Johnson Jr. and Henry Preston.

Even the people who work with HACA supported Austin Pathways during Amplify Austin. Austin Elevator Company’s Sara Fairchild works closely with the agency. Like several other vendors, she said working with the agency gives her a good feeling.

“No one can take away your education,” Fairchild said. “We know that when a housing authority resident earns a degree, their earnings go up. They build the tax base and leave a place for another needy family.”