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How might we provide a zero contact (covid) mutual aid hub improving the accessibility
of resource exchanges for Austin residents?

In the spring of 2020, resource networks were shut down due to Covid-19, resulting in an urgent need for access to resources, services, information, and low-contact community building and communication. Networks needed strengthening and mutual aid offered solidarity not just in response to crisis, but as a sustainable piece of the landscape beyond government sanctioned assistance.

Through research and community collaboration, The Woodward Mutual Aid Stand was born as a resource and solidarity action to build safe relationships and resource distribution during a global pandemic with sustainability goals to maintain it's functionality in post-pandemic life as well.

Located on a heavily trafficked, mixed income street, the station is adjacent to an unhoused community encampment, a university, single-family and multifamily housing, and commercial properties.


What service/resource networks are most impacted by Covid-19 and how are people accessing and engaging?

What information/communication is being lost with social distancing and how are people accessing information?

How do people feel safest engaging with mutual aid networks during Covid-19?


  • Cataloguing resource and services channels effected by Covid

  • Mobile resource distribution interviews

  • Mutual aid network connections and interviews

  • Journey mapping of individuals with limited access to resources and services

  • Journey mapping of individuals with access to redistribute

  • Surveys of residents in area



  • Small station built from wood scrapes sourced from mutual aid channels with minimal weather proofing provided by roof.

  • Communication through clipboard. 

  • Some materials labeled to remain "permanent" on stand for communal/continual access and use.

  • Outreach conducted via flyering, signage, established networks and relationships, and social media.


  • Station emptied on a daily basis.

  • Communication consistent via clipboard and social media.

  • Continuous supply via community restock and donations.

  • Larger needs communicated and fulfilled via clipboard translated to social media and mutual aid networks.

  • Safe distribution of non-perishables, PPE, clothing, books, and self care items.

Pain Points

  • Wind, rain and sun damages and scatters supplies - need for station stability.

  • Intended "permanent" items rarely stay on station more than a day, including communication clipboard - need for secured lo-tech communication channels.

  • Donations exceed space, often spread out and cluttered around foot of stand - need for more space and organization.


With community input, and physical and monetary assistance, the mutual aid station was renovated to:

  • Three times the size to support more supplies.

  • House a permanent communication chalk board.

  • Provide breathable insulation for weather proofing.

  • Improve accessibility with slender, ease to open doors.

  • Clear doors also serving as accessible paper communications on services and community action items, and educational material.

  • Stone box for storing excess supplies.

A grant was acquired through Austin Mutual Aid Winter Freeze Grant to expand and maintain supplies.

Credits: Amy Shatila, Evie Shatila, Stella Shatila, Andrew, Blake, Mary, Margaret, Caleb, Ely

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