HOME is where the heart is. In the case of the non-profit (501c3) organization HOME, Housing Opportunities for Musicians and Entertainers,  it’s where the artist goes to live. This all-volunteer board of women in music helps keep aging Austin musicians who are infirm or unable to afford the skyrocketing cost of living in this town once billed as the “live music capital of the world” housed. These very same entertainers have made that tagline through hard work with little remuneration and, thus, have unwittingly succumbed to the tech onslaught in what is now the “copycat Silicon Valley of the world.” HOME rescues those unable to pay all or part of their rent, mortgage, and housing costs.

Nancy Coplin and Marcia Ball are interchangeable as President and Vice President of the Board of Directors. Both chatted with me via Zoom, making time in their extremely hectic schedule, for which Sun News is grateful. I was curious how much they raised on average for musicians, and Marcia said, “So far this year, we cut over twenty-five checks of $500 each. We typically fund a musician in need anywhere from $500 to $1,500. The money goes directly to the landlord or the bank in case of a mortgage.

“Over 40% of funds raised are from individual donors, 34% from grants, and the remainder from events. One of their most significant events is Home Cooking, which took place on December 6th via livestream. Musicians from all over cook their favorite meals. Events — HOME Austin. Some musicians featured in the Event include Bob Schneider, Ray Benson, Jackie Venson, Leo Nocentilli of The Meters, Hot Club of Cowtown, Bill Kirchen, Marcia Ball, Sunny Sweeney, Marcia Gay Harden, and others. A special tribute to Ms. Lavelle White will be made.

KUTX 98.9 FM is one of several sponsors. HOME also works with the organization Health Alliance for Austin Musicians – HAAM, which is dedicated to providing healthcare. Marcia Ball is also one of its board members.

Nancy added, “Ms. Lavelle White, the legendary soul and blues singer/songwriter, was the program’s first recipient in 2012 and still receives assistance from HOME. It’s a tireless effort for the volunteers who have not stopped for over ten years, which is about when the city began full-on gentrification.

It seems unfeasible for musicians who perform at small clubs or restaurants to expect to earn a decent wage. I remember moving here twelve years ago and being astounded at a couple of industry practices: no cover charge for live music at most any venue, club, or restaurant and the tip jar where musicians begged for money after their gig since they weren’t paid by the establishments where they performed. Let’s do all we can to help our local musicians, those still working, and many who have retired. Why not donate today? https://homeaustin.networkforgood.com/

By Elise Krentzel

Elise Krentzel is the author of the bestselling memoir Under My Skin - Drama, Trauma & Rock 'n' Roll, a ghostwriter, book coach to professionals who want to write their memoir, how-to or management book or fiction, and contributing author to several travel books and series. Elise has written about art, food, culture, music, and travel in magazines and blogs worldwide for most of her life, and was formerly the Tokyo Bureau Chief of Billboard Magazine. For 25 years, she lived overseas in five countries and now calls Austin, TX, her home. Find her at https://elisekrentzel.com, FB: @OfficiallyElise, Instagram: @elisekrentzel, LI: linkedin.com/in/elisekrentzel.