Formed nearly a decade ago to help renowned Austin blues singer Lavelle White with housing and living expenses during a difficult period, Housing Opportunities for Musicians and Entertainers has grown into an organization that has helped dozens of local performers who need financial assistance. On Nov. 27, a star-studded cast of performers will help to raise money for the cause with HOME Cookin’ for the Holidays, a virtual event featuring live music, favorite recipes and more.
The event will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be streamed on the HOME Facebook page (facebook.com/homeaustinorg) as well as KUTX’s Youtube channel. A quartet performance by Marcia Ball, Tracy Nelson, Shelley King and Carolyn Wonderland, who have been essential in the formation and operation of HOME, anchors a musical lineup that also features Lucinda Williams, Delbert McClinton, Ruthie Foster, Raul Malo, Irma Thomas, Joe Ely, Jackie Venson, Ray Benson, Lisa Loeb, John Mayall, Kathy Valentine, Shinyribs, Vintage Trouble, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Marc Broussard, Gina Chavez, Jesse Dayton, Charley Crockett, Lavelle White, and a collaboration between Jimmie Vaughan, Sue Foley, Mike Flanigin and Kaz Kazanoff. Turk Pipkin will be master of ceremonies.
It’s the "Cookin’" element that sets this event apart from typical music livestreams. Many of the performers will do double-duty by preparing their favorite holiday dishes, including McClinton, King, Ball, Loeb, White, Thomas, Wonderland and Shinyribs leader Kevin Russell. Donations will be accepted during the livestream; anyone who contributes will be sent all of the recipes from the cooking portion of the show. The homeaustin.org website will soon have details on additional incentive packages for sponsors and donors.
Ball, a founder and board member of the nonprofit, said that after the initial efforts to assist White, "we quickly realized that many Austin musicians are having trouble paying housing expenses because of age, reduced opportunity and illness. As a result, we have grown in the number of clients we can assist and the services we provide." HOME’s board of directors and advisory board include 20 women from Austin’s music industry, including current president Nancy Coplin.
Musicians and entertainers 55 and older are eligible for assistance from HOME, which is in the process of expanding its roster of full-time beneficiaries from nine to 11 for 2021. Over the past year, the organization also has offered COVID-19 emergency relief, providing $500 grants for rent and utilities to more than 100 recipients.
"Sometimes the need for services we offer can feel so dire," board member Wonderland said. "When that feeling creeps up, everyone in this group puts their heads together and dives in to do the work necessary."
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