Shalom Austin Offers Assistance After Winter Storm

Community News, Shalom Austin, The Jewish Outlook

Mar 4, 2021

Austin’s Jewish organizations are providing assistance after Winter Storm Uri left many without power and water and with home damage in mid-February. Credit: Sheeren Ben Moshe

Shalom Austin is here for the community now and in the days ahead. Mid-February’s weather plunged Austin and Texas into a frigid state of emergency and local staff and lay leaders worked hard to connect with those in need while partnering with Austin City officials and support services. As Shalom Austin begins community relief efforts, leaders recognize it will take time to assess the multiple ways community members’ lives and homes have been affected by February’s events.

At the time of printing, the following information was available. Shalom Austin will continue to provide updated information about ways to volunteer and help others as more needs arise at shalomaustin.org/winterstormrelief.

Storm Relief Emergency Financial Assistance

Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service is collecting funds to distribute to community members in need. Not everyone is able to afford the home repairs needed after the snow melted and pipes defrosted, while others cannot afford to refill their food pantries and struggle to pay their utility bills in the months ahead. Jewish Family Service case managers are working directly with community members to help cover these unexpected costs.

Visit shalomaustin.org/winterstormrelief to donate to our Storm Relief Emergency Financial Assistance Fund. Thanks to everyone who has already donated. Shalom Austin has already started responding to the enormous need community members are experiencing.

In need of financial assistance due to the storms? Visit shalomaustin.org/winterstormrelief to fill out a request for assistance so that a case worker can be in touch. Staff members respond to every request within two to three business days and keep requests confidential.

ECP Winter Snow

Winter Storm Uri blanketed Austin with 6.4 inches of snow in February, leaving many without water and power. Photo credit: Sheeren Ben Moshe.

Hebrew Free Loan of Austin

For those who need assistance with an emergency or significant post-severe weather home repairs, Hebrew Free Loan of Austin has interest-free loans of $500 (no guarantor needed) and up to $7,000 general loans available. Email operations@hfla.org for more information.

Food Assistance

The day immediately after the storm, Shalom Austin JFS mobilized volunteers to deliver water and food to individuals in need throughout Austin. At this time, those services are no longer needed. Jewish Family Service also operates a food pantry that delivers non-perishable bags of food to individuals monthly. There has been an increase in food pantry clients since the storm. To be added to the food pantry list as a recipient, email Arielle Levy at arielle.levy@shalomaustin.org. Those who would like to donate to the food pantry or help JFS organize a food drive in the months ahead should also contact Levy. More volunteers are needed every month.

Home Repair Resources List

Shalom Austin JFS has compiled a list of contractors, plumbers, HVAC system repair companies and handy people willing to help repair the homes of community members in need after the mid-February storms and in the future. Shalom Austin staff members are still creating this resource and the community is in need of more volunteers. Shalom Austin JFS case workers work with individuals every day who experience home emergencies and cannot afford to pay for repairs.

Shalom Austin leaders recognize that other needs exist, including identifying temporary housing for individuals with severe home repairs, and will continue to work with community partners to identify available resources. 

For updated information, visit shalomaustin.org/winterstormrelief.

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