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Community-Based Public Safety in Central East Austin

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
San Francisco
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,000,000)

Urban Alchemy (UA) proposes a Community-Based Public Safety project in Central East Austin (CEA), Texas. The initiative will reduce crime in this predominantly Black neighborhood and increase trust in traditional public safety organizations in the 78702, 78721, and 78723 zip codes.

CEA struggles with a very high crime rate. Auto and property theft, along with gun law violations, drug crimes, and sex crimes have been on the rise. Further, the community faces high rates of poverty, substance use, and homelessness. This project aims to devise a replicable model for crime intervention, increase community resilience and awareness of public safety, and reduce the drivers of crime and incidents of less serious offenses. Some strategies that will be used include community engagement, training and technical assistance, community events, service referrals, and deploying trauma-informed community ambassadors.

UA is a national nonprofit that focuses on community-based public safety. UA staff, known as Practitioners, are trained to de-escalate conflict, connect people to services, and bring peace to chaotic public places. Over 95% of Practitioners have lived experience with incarceration or homelessness. UA is a Black-led organization, and 92% of its staff are BIPOC.

UA will partner with Huston-Tillotson University (HT), a historically Black university located in the project area. HT will work with UA to collect qualitative and quantitative data from the community and representative sectors. Following this landscape and planning data collection, faculty will help formulate a model, strategies, associated theory of change, and evaluation plan.

Two community organizations have been identified as subrecipients. Hungry Hill Foundation and We Can Now are both based in CEA. Both organizations are Black-led and highly respected in the community. They provide a variety of programs, services, and economic opportunities in CEA. They also work on public safety issues and are considered credible messengers in the community.

Austin Public Health (APH) will serve as the project’s conduit to public safety, social services, and other government resources. APH is a Black-led organization with the cultural competence to work effectively and respectfully in CEA. This team will also seek other agencies, neighborhood groups, and private resources to support the work. All key partners in this project are Black-led.

Date Created: September 28, 2023