A new nonprofit aimed at helping Austin veterans land in stable housing will stage a blues festival at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater on Nov. 13.
Among the headliners are Jimmie Vaughan — performing with Mike Flanigin and George Rains — Tameca Jones, Omar and the Howlers and Jeff Plankenhorn performing with Malford Milligan and Cari Hutson.
Red, White and Blues 512, founded by Karen Ingram, hopes to raise money through the House Our Heroes Music Festival for groups such as Caritas of Austin, ECHO, Front Steps and the Samaritan Center.
Money will also go into Mayor Steve Adler‘s Housing Heroes Fund, set up to protect apartment owners who have promised to take in homeless veterans. In the innovative arrangement, money from that fund becomes quickly available if veterans miss a rent payment or something happens to the apartments.
In August, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro certified that Austin had effectively ended homelessness among veterans by providing housing for 682 of them. HUD provides housing vouchers for the program.
Adler, speaking to small group of Red, White and Blues 512 backers at Nightcap eatery on Oct. 4, emphasized that there are still veterans on the streets, but that the mechanism is in place to provide housing, at first within 90 days, now within 60 days.
Ingram — backed up by a group of influential friends that include Amy Rudy, Tamsen Cohagan, Michelle Sunshine and Kelly Ostendorf — introduced a video that featured veterans who had already been placed in homes.
Former Marine Pete Phillips, who worked at the Department of Defense before before becoming deputy director of the Texas General Land Office, spoke about how military culture encourages self-sufficiency, so veterans don’t want to ask for help or handouts. That attitude is complicated for female veterans who tend to distance themselves from their military past.
Lending him support was Molly Potter, who this week is among three finalists for the crown of Ms Veteran America. She serves on the city’s Commission on Veteran Affairs and raises money for mental health issues.
UPDATE: In a previous version of this post, Cari Hutson’s name was misspelled.