Banding Together, an emergency relief fund set up by business owners in the Red River Cultural District, is now accepting applications from service and hospitality workers struggling in the wake of bar and music venue closures that have left many out of work.
"The majority of the people I know are unemployed right now. That will almost certainly get worse before it gets better. We are all living in a moment that calls for us to summon forth our resolve and real heart for our survival," Cody Cowan, executive director of the Red River Cultural District said in a Facebook post about the fund.
The first round of fundraising for the relief effort brought in around $40,000 in donations, Cowan said. To maximize the amount of people they can help, fund administrators have decided to distribute the money in $100 HEB gift cards.
"We'll continue to fundraise going forward and will reassess the nature of the grants later based on new math," Cowan said.
Cowan warned his colleagues in the entertainment industry to prepare for a long road ahead.
"I believe that this will be a 12 to 18 month process for us as a global community to put the pieces back together. To survive. To rebuild," he said. "It will not be easy. We will give up small privileges. And we'll know ourselves to be more resilient than perhaps we supposed."
Austin residents working in the following industries who are unemployed due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply for the funds: music venue, musician, music marketing/photography/content, bar, event production/activations, food & beverage, hotel and hospitality.