Helping people make more money is all about jobs and job training. To reduce income inequality and to create opportunities more broadly and equitably so more people can afford to stay in Austin, we need to restructure how we attract new jobs and new job training opportunities to Austin. One element of this effort will be to fundamentally reform our economic incentive programs in Austin.
We’ve got tens of thousands of people in this city living in zip codes that weren’t zoned for opportunity. Most of those zip codes are located in the Eastern Crescent of our city. This is one reason why America’s favorite boomtown ends up as the most economically segregated city in the country.
These people – our neighbors, fellow Austinites – need middle-income jobs, and the training and experience needed to qualify for those jobs. I want to target economic incentives Right. At. Them.
Mayor Pro Tem, Council Members, City Manager, Distinguished Guests, my fellow Austinites.
There is something magical about this place, our people, our culture and our spirit.
We know that diversity makes us stronger, that taking care of our environment is to our credit and not to our detriment. We’re laid back and focused. We’re willing to fail so long as we learn quickly and keep trying. The character of Austin is important to us for a reason. It’s about a quality of life where we don’t thrive despite our weird, diverse, and inclusive values – we thrive because of them!
The State of our City is as wonderfully unique and special as it has ever been.
But that’s not quite the story we always tell ourselves about Austin, is it? There is something else we often tell ourselves about this city, and we say it as if it were a knowing, painful joke:
The best time to be in Austin, we say, was five years before you got here.
New multi-year grant of up to $1.5 million will be awarded to help Austin tackle homelessness
Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies recognized the city of Austin as a new member of its Innovation Team program, which helps City Halls drive bold innovation, change culture, and tackle big problems to deliver better results for residents. Austin was selected from a pool of municipalities with a demonstrated commitment to designing and delivering bold solutions to solve homelessness. Other cities selected for the global program include Be’er Sheva, Israel; Toronto, Canada, and Anchorage, AK; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; and Durham; NC in the United States.
Currently in the third round of funding, the program will allow Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council to fund an in-house innovation team, or “i-team”, to pioneer new approaches on homelessness.
“This grant will help us tackle problems in new ways that reflect who we are in Austin, and I’m excited to see what can come from this,” said Mayor Adler. “When we effectively ended veteran homelessness, we learned how effective new partnerships between the business community, philanthropists and non-profits could be. Bloomberg’s grant will allow our Innovation Office to experiment with new ways to house the homeless.” Continue reading →