Keeping Austin’s Artistic Vision Clear

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM, has provided access to affordable healthcare to Austin musicians who are uninsured and have low incomes for nearly a decade. During that time almost $30 million dollars in healthcare services has been provided to nearly 4,000 musicians.

Austin takes great pride being the “Live Music Capital of the World,” yet often the very musicians who are the backbone of this live music culture earn shockingly little. In fact, of the 8,000 musicians in Austin, over 80 percent earn less than $17,000 a year. This means that healthcare services, including getting vision checked or even in obtaining a simple pair of prescription glasses, is just not possible. That is where HAAM comes in. A unique community collaborative, HAAM works with affiliate service providers to bring much needed services to musicians.

With the help of a grant from the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fund and Dr. Henry Renfret Jr. Fund at the Austin Community Foundation, HAAM has been able to expand their vision program to reach more musicians than ever before. In 2013, HAAM’s Project SEE was able to serve 229 low-income, uninsured musicians.

One musician said, “For the first time in 10 years, I can actually see the people I am playing to from the stage. I have not had my eyes checked since I was a child. I just could not afford to pay for the doctor visit, much less the glasses that knew I needed. One of the first things I did when I got my HAAM card was to sign up for a vision screening. Thank you, HAAM!”