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The ACT Monthly Thrive emails are a way for us to provide an update on the various efforts we support. But remember you can follow us on social media for more frequent news!
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Join the Austin Coming Together (ACT) team and make a difference with your work!

We've been supporting Chicago's Austin community since 2010, empowering residents and the organizations that serve them. And our team is growing!

Whether it’s shooting mini-hoops, a game of strategy with giant Jenga, a spin of the wellness wheel or enjoying a meeting on the outdoor patio, we love to find ways to add more joy to our days.

Check out the Now Hiring tab at austincomingtogether.org for the full list of positions, which includes Office Administrator/Executive Assistant to the CEO (full-time WITH BENEFITS)!

ACT ORGANIZATIONAL UPDATES
 
$10k GRANT:
ACT has received a $10,000 gift from Deloitte, a global business management consultant company that has supported ACT in years past. The unrestricted funds will help sustain ACT’s critical work to improve the quality of life for Chicago’s Austin residents.
WELCOME TO THE ACT FAMILY:
ACT is excited to welcome Emone Moore as Engagement Coordinator with ACT’s Austin Community Hub team! Moore will help the team engage and mobilize a network of key stakeholders to connect Austin residents to the Austin Community Hub and broader ACT Network.

Moore is an artist and entrepreneur and was born and raised in Austin. He wants to positively impact the Austin community through engagement, bringing awareness to residents about the variety of resources available. He is also looking forward to working with and inspiring his peers and local youth to become more involved in the community to help change the narrative of Austin in the media. 
PRESENTATION INSPIRES NEW SUPPORT:
On October 26, 2021, the Austin Community Hub presented Reimagining Care with Renaissance Social Services, a Hub 101 virtual info session highlighting programs available to Austin residents. One viewer was inspired to reach out to RSSI to learn more about their Living Room program and mental health resources. After a thoughtful conversation, the individual decided to become an anonymous funder by helping to address one of the highest unmet needs for The Living Room guests: bus passes. Due to this new funding support, around twenty of The Living Room’s guests will receive a bus pass.

Staff at RSSI’s Living Room said, "Filling this need for us was huge. The donor coming in and wanting to assist where we needed – that was really incredible for us. Long term, these bus passes will help our community members fulfill their goals. If you can't get to the places that have the resources, it's almost more frustrating than not having the resources. These cards help fix that."

Learn more about Renaissance Social Services and The Living Room at renaissancelivingroom.org.

INITIATIVES UPDATE
 
HUB 101 VIRTUAL INFO SESSIONS:
The Austin Community Hub recently hosted a Hub 101 virtual info session “Enriching Lives Through Education with West Side Learning Center,” the satellite campus of Malcolm X College, to discuss opportunities for adults to further their education. Missed it? Watch any of our recorded Hub 101 sessions on ACT’s YouTube here

The next Hub 101 session will be “Whole Health for Yourself” with Westside Health Authority (WHA) on Wednesday, May 25th from 12:30pm-1:45pm. RSVP here and even if you cannot attend, we'll send you information about opportunities through WHA.

These events are designed to increase awareness of the valuable resources available through ACT’s member network.
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If you're an Austin resident looking for resources, please contact our Austin Community Hub Coordinator Janelle Martin at jmartin@austincomingtogether.org or text your Full Name to (708) 529-5042.
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ACT PARTICIPATES IN “REBUILD CHICAGOLAND TOWNHALL”:
ACT’s Planning and Investment Manager was among the panelists for the “Vision to Rebuild Chicagoland Virtual Townhall” hosted by The Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Inc. (CEDA).

The event explored an organizational model to create change in under-served Chicagoland communities through a panel discussion on ideas for enhancing community engagement, holding stakeholders accountable, and deepening partnerships. CEDA’s mission is empowering individuals, families, and communities facing poverty to secure a better quality of life, and is one of the largest private, nonprofit Community Action Agencies in the country.

Watch the recording of the Vision to Rebuild Chicagoland Virtual Townhall here.

‘Austin Forward. Together.’  (AFT) is Austin's first ever quality-of-life plan. It outlines a set of goals created by and for the community designed to address 23 strategies that consist of 84 total actions across seven Issue Areas between the years 2019 and 2024. Those Issue Areas include: Community Narrative, Education, Housing, Youth Empowerment, Economic Development, Public Safety, and Civic Engagement.

Austin Coming Together (ACT) serves as the steward of the plan to empower a network of volunteers and partners who work collaboratively to bring Austin's vision to life.

Below are some updates on recent progress.

Visit austincomingtogether.org/AFT to learn more about the Austin Forward. Together. (AFT) quality-of-life plan, or if you are interested in volunteering as a member of an AFT Task Force to help carry out the plan, contact ACT’s Lead Organizer Ethan Ramsay at eramsay@austincomingtogether.org.

COMMUNITY CAN GUIDE THE WAY:
"We can no longer wait to address racial disparities. Minority communities like Austin are struggling with the compounded impact of decades of disinvestment and recent crises, but fortunately, Chicago is taking steps to once again prioritize equity. 

We have made some strides, but it won’t be until access to resources becomes equitable that we will see long-term change."

Click here to read more from our latest section published in the 3/30/22 issues of the Austin Weekly News and Wednesday Journal newspapers.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN AUSTIN:
As part of the AFT plan’s goals to increase civic engagement in Austin and help residents get their voices heard, the AFT Civic Engagement Task Force, led by Deborah Williams, recently ran a March Madness Voter Registration Campaign involving nine pop-up events at different locations across Austin to educate residents about voter registration and working as an election judge. The Task Force registered voters at Westside Triage and Wellness Center, the Veterans Peace Garden, Soul City Community Market, MacArthur's Restaurant, and various Churches and other community events. Partners in this initiative include Habilitative Systems, Northwest Austin Council, the Leaders Network, Protest to the Polls, Women of the 7th Congressional District IL, South Austin Neighborhood Association, Bethel New Life, and R3 Westside Collaborative.

Are you registered to vote? Elections are coming up! Learn how to check if you’re registered, change your address, and more here.

THE CITY’S HOUSING TRENDS ARE MIRRORED IN AUSTIN:
ACT’s Micro Market Recovery Program (MMRP) team recently completed the quarterly survey of all properties in Austin's MMRP target area for reporting to the City of Chicago Department of Housing. 

In the last year, we have seen broadly reported market trends reflected right here in Austin. There has been a 50% decrease in investor activity, so homes are largely being purchased by homeowners and small developers, as opposed to corporations. At its peak, this boom in demand reduced the number of vacant properties and heightened sales prices, particularly in MMRP target areas where median sales have increased at a higher rate than across the City. This latest reporting is the first time since the market shift that we are seeing a decrease in both new rehab and sales prices

As the MMRP community partner in Austin, ACT works with our members to re-occupy vacant residential buildings and help existing residents to remain in their homes. Through education, relationship building, research and market analysis, we are building the capacity of local block clubs, developers, and housing counseling agencies to work together to stabilize homeownership in our community.

If you are a developer, realtor, or contractor and you would like to learn more about our housing stabilization efforts, please email austinmmrp.act@gmail.com or call 872-205-6615.




Austin has secured $1.5 million in funding to upgrade Columbus Park. Share your ideas by completing this survey!

Galewood Neighbors has created a community survey to get your feedback and make sure that the community's voice is heard in the process. They plan to present the survey results to the Mars representatives and our local government officials. There is strength in numbers and now is the time to make your voice heard! Click here to take the survey and make a positive impact!

For questions, please contact info.galewoodneighbors@gmail.com. Paper versions of the survey are available upon request. 
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ACT is truly grateful for another year serving the Austin community, and for each and every person and partner who has supported us along the way.

We continue to connect residents to resources and help sustain those resources by focusing on capacity building, community investment, relentless community engagement, and advocacy for policy change.
Show how much you care! Donate to help Austin families.
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United Way of Metro Chicago’s Neighborhood Network Initiative helps generate collective impact and invest in communities that are working to help their residents all fulfill their human potential and increase their quality of life. As the lead agency for the Neighborhood Network in Austin, ACT is better able to support the social services that are essential to our residents. For more information, visit: liveunitedchicago.org/neighborhood-networks/austin.

Since 2010, ACT has helped our network take a strategic and collaborative approach to improve education and economic development outcomes in Austin.  What links ACT to its member organizations are our five core values: Unity, Commitment, Transparency, Collaboration, and Action. These core values are the foundation for our decision-making process, current culture, and all ACT aspires to be.

To learn more about becoming part of the ACT Member Network, click here.
 
ACT Members
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Visit the ACT website to donate & support Austin residents!
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