Category Archives: Health and Human Service

Health and Human Services refers to social services, education, public health, health care services, animal welfare, sustainable food, social equity, veterans’ affairs, populations at risk, and related matters.

“Great Cities Do Big Things” – State of Our City Feb. 16, 2016 Austin, Texas

“Great cities do big things not because they are great. Cities become great because they do big things.”

Thank you, President Fenves. I am grateful for your leadership at the University of Texas and for our growing working relationship and even friendship.

And with the conversations that need to be happening between UT and the City on issues like the development of the Innovation Zone around our new medical school, a replacement arena for the Drum, the future of the MUNY golf course site, as well as expanding opportunities for closer connection between Austin and the incredible intellectual resources of your faculty, there’s a lot for you and me — and the community — to be talking about.

And by the way, I’m grateful to you for skipping the West Virginia game tonight. You get pretty good seats, so I know what kind of sacrifice this is.

President Fenves recounted the story of the Austin Dam. I love that story, because as the Mayor of Austin I’m often asked what the secret sauce is that makes us a magical city and a center for innovation and creativity. Most every other city wishes it could replicate our success. When I attended the climate change talks in Paris, the 100 Resilient Cities meeting in London, the Almedalen Political Rhetoric Festival in Norway, and the traffic control center in Dublin, Ireland, and people found out that I was the Mayor they’d get a big smile on their face and tell me how much they love Austin.

Cities from all over our country and the rest of the world send entire delegations here to troop through our offices in hopes of finding the magic formula written on a white board somewhere.  These leaders from other cities ask me what makes Austin so special. I tell them about Barton Springs and how our commitment to our environment became perhaps our most important asset. I tell them about Willie Nelson and our live music, how by embracing diverse cultures we established an inclusive community where creativity thrives, about a community where it is okay to fail so long as you learn and grow. And I tell them about Michael Dell reinventing the assembly line in his dorm room and how coming up with radical new ideas here doesn’t make you an outcast — it can make you rich and famous.

And then I tell them about the Austin Dam, and how when the dam burst we were set on a path that turned us into a boomtown of the Information Age. The lesson, I tell these visitors from other cities is clear. They need to leave Austin, return to their hometowns, and destroy all their dams and bridges, too.

But some cities just aren’t willing to do the Big Things.

Continue reading after the break.

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Our Big Accomplishments of 2015

In our first year under the new 10-1 form of government, your Austin City Council set high goals for what we could accomplish in the first year. We are proud to have made real progress toward improving Austin for everyone. We’re looking forward to an even more productive 2016.

See the full list here.

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NEWS: Mayor Adler joins White House call on Syrian refugees

The mayors of Detroit and Austin said Monday they are welcoming Syrian refugees despite pushback by their states’ Republican governors following the deadly attacks in Paris.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said his city can support 50 Syrian families annually for the next three years and is “moving down that road.” Mayor Steve Adler said Austin has accepted three Syrian refugees in the past two years and another is coming.

The Democrats spoke during a White House-arranged conference call, a week after numerous Republican governors spoke out against federal refugee policies.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has instructed refugee-resettling organizations to stop helping Syrians. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has lobbied federal officials for refugees and immigrants, urged a pause in the resettlement.

Housing Heroes Austin

Housing Heroes press conference

Mayor Adler Commits to Goal

On Veterans Day 2015,  Mayor Steve Adler gave an update on his Housing Heroes Austin Initiative, declaring that Austin would complete the goal of functionally ending veteran homelessness by the original federal deadline of the end of the year.

Support our work to end veteran homelessness


We owe our veterans more than a parade and our gratitude. This Veterans Day, I’m writing again to give you an update on the progress of our Housing Heroes project – and to ask for your help in giving some veterans much more than a “thank you.” I need your help to give homeless veterans a home.

We’ve got great news: Since May 1, our Housing Heroes program has found homes for 82 homeless veterans. That’s 82 success stories — with more moving in every week and dozens more leases about to close.

Unfortunately, we are still short of our goal to find homes for 200 homeless vets by today, Veterans Day, November 11. We will get there by the original federal deadline of the end of the year because we are getting better and more effectively and efficiently putting veterans into homes. Consider this:

1. We’re pulling in new partners to identifying affordable housing for veterans. Affordable housing is a well-known challenge in Austin, but thanks the Austin Apartment Association and the Austin Board of Realtors, our nonprofit partners like the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition have unprecedented access to property owners and managers, making the job of getting homeless veterans into apartments more doable. This is a new paradigm for dealing with homeless in Austin that will survive the Housing Heroes program.

2. We’ve surpassed our fundraising goal of $150,000 to help mitigate risks for landlords and property owners who rent to vets. As of today, we’ve raised $375,000 thank to the generosity of the business community and concerned people like you.

But there’s still more to do. We believe that one homeless vet in Austin is too many, so we’re not giving up just because we’ve missed our goal. In fact, we’re stepping up our efforts.

First, we have increased our goal to $500,000 raised by the end of the year. Knowing what we know now about the obstacles that still exist, we’re going to need even more resources to end veteran homelessness this year.

DONATE NOW to be a part of this ground-breaking initiative. Would you consider observing Veterans Day by donating $11.11 to Housing Heroes Austin?

Second, we are reinvigorating our ask of property owners and managers who are willing to partner with Housing Heroes to commit at least one unit to veteran families that might have barriers to renting.

CLICK HERE to help lift veterans off the streets by giving them a second chance.

We’re so close to achieving what we once thought would never be possible, but it takes ambitious goals and audacious plans to achieve big things. I accepted this challenge on your behalf, and now I’m asking for your help to meet it. There is no question that homeless veterans have earned our help or that it is now within our power to find them homes. The only question is if Austin has enough heroes left to finish the job.