Artie Lee Hinds Award Winners

Artie Hinds Award Winners

Relief Enterprise of Texas, Inc., is proud to announce that two of our employees have been named winners of the 2022 Artie Lee Hinds Award. Congratulations to Catherine Corff and Freddy Rios. We also congratulate the other winners from WorkQuest Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) across Texas.

Placement Specialist Craig Jones nominated Catherine Corff, who works as a custodian at the Texas Workforce Commission. Catherine, who is hearing and speech impaired, has grown in her position, shown great leadership ability in all areas of her service, and always rises to the challenge to overcome any adversity. Catherine says that she likes her job because she knows she can do the work and knows that she is appreciated by her supervisor, her co-workers and most importantly, herself.

HR Specialist JoAnn Sepeda nominated Freddy Rios, who works at a variety of locations in the Waco area as a Supervisor. Freddy, who is recovering from an amputation, has shown great leadership with his supervisory skills managing and training employees per the scope of each contract. He works well with others and understands the needs of the both the contracts he covers and the employees under his supervision. Freddy says that working with other individuals with disabilities has helped him become more independent. He enjoys his job because of all the great people that he works with.

Artie Lee Hinds devoted her life to helping blind and disabled persons throughout the United States earn a living wage through federal government contracts. From serving on the Board of Directors of the Lighthouse for the Blind and National Industries for the Blind, through founding Texas Industries for the Blind and Handicapped (TIBH), she was always a strong advocate for the blind and severely handicapped to state and federal agencies and political subdivisions. When she retired, TIBH initiated the “Artie Lee Hinds Award” as their top award to be presented to the disabled employee of the year.

Relief Enterprise Achieves CIMS Certification

CIMS Certification

We are pleased to announce that Relief Enterprise, Inc., is now an ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS)-certified with Honors organization, which means that we are among an elite group of cleaning service providers that are prepared to deliver quality, customer-focused services. As part of the CIMS certification process, an independent CIMS assessor has audited our systems, processes, and policies to ensure compliance to cleaning-industry best practices as outlined in the CIMS Standard. CIMS Certification demonstrates that Relief is structured to deliver consistent, quality service and is committed to efficient operations and continuous improvement. By implementing core CIMS principles into the organization’s management framework, Relief Enterprise, Inc. strives to deliver improved productivity, increased customer satisfaction, and enhanced professionalism.

CIMS Certification and Covid-19

How has CIMS certification prepared us to clean and disinfect at a high level during the COVID-19 pandemic? We have successfully fulfilled these elements of the CIMS standard and leverage them routinely to ensure clean, safe, and healthy environments for our customers, staff and building occupants:

  • Emergency Response. We have a plan to respond to emergency service needs, including infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19 and other emergencies such as fire, theft, active shooter, etc. (CIMS Standard § 2.1.8)
  • Disaster Planning. We have a plan to deal with natural or man-made disasters such as infectious disease outbreaks. (CIMS Standard § 2.1.9)
  • Technical Training. We maintain a written curriculum for technical training of cleaning personnel and documentation of personnel that have been trained. This training applies to all cleaning chemicals and equipment your organization employs in your cleaning process, including disinfectants. (CIMS Standard § 3.6.1)
  • Chemical Safety. Our cleaning staff uses chemicals in a safe and proper manner in accordance with all manufacturer instructions. Further, we follow standard operating procedures for all chemicals and equipment—including disinfectants—based on CDC and EPA guidelines.  (CIMS Standard §
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We document our selection and use of PPE, a critical component to protecting our workers’ and building occupants’ health and safety. Further, we comply with all applicable OSHA and state requirements for PPE use. (CIMS Standard § 4.1.3)
  • PPE & Bloodborne Pathogen Training. We train our employees annually regarding the hazards of cleaning blood and other potentially infectious material along with the proper use of PPE to keep everyone safe. (CIMS Standard §

Relief Enterprise’s CIMS certification equips us to manage COVID-19 challenges and deliver quality cleaning and disinfection services every day. You can feel confident that we are prepared and prioritize your health and safety as we conduct our work.

The Homeless and Relief Enterprise

homeless in Austin

Homeless people living in the streets is a topic that has finally worked its way to the forefront of the conversation, in Austin, throughout the state of Texas, and elsewhere across the entire country. Affordable  housing is extremely hard to find and is only part of the underlying problem.

At Relief Enterprise we have heard from many community members, especially after the recent passage of Prop B to reinstate the camping ban, who are concerned about our contract with the City of Austin for cleaning the underpasses throughout the city. The underpasses have become an unfortunate home for many people who do not have other places they can safely go, and we understand your concerns. Please know that our goal is to clean these areas according to our contract, not to enforce the camping ban or to separate people from their belongings.

Experts say three ways Texans can help their homeless neighbors are to focus one at a time on issues  that a homeless person is experiencing, to challenge perspectives that stigmatize homelessness, and to reach out to local organizations to see what help they need. Relief Enterprise’s mission is to help the less fortunate with job opportunities, regardless of their living conditions. Having meaningful work restores dignity and provides a means to pay for housing and living expenses. All of our federal, state and local contracts are fulfilled by disabled and underprivileged persons, helping this vulnerable population become contributing members of today’s society.

Locally, organizations such as Mobile Loaves and Fishes with their Community First Village and Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) are helping connect the homeless with housing needs, while NAMI Austin (National Alliance on Mental Health) and Austin Public Health Integral Care are working to help people work through mental health issues. On the state level, Texas provides grants for non-profits and governmental agencies to provide programs for the homeless, such as counseling services, family stability, food pantries, parenting, emergency services, and shelters. On the national stage, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has committed to allocating $5B to fight homelessness.

There are many organizations in the Central Texas area that would appreciate your support as the community works to end homelessness. Although donations are appreciated, traditional approaches to helping people experiencing homelessness, such as organizing soup kitchens or donating clothing, are less likely to help solve “chronic homelessness” because they treat the symptom and not the underlying problem.

We can all be part of the solution by providing financial support or volunteering to help with community programs that are already focused on the homelessness issue. Here is a partial list of organizations that would be happy to receive your support:

  • Austin Public Health Homeless Assistance – As part of the Homeless Assistance System, the City of Austin collaborates with agencies, community organizations, and individuals working to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Access information about the City policies, strategies and programs that prioritize ending homelessness. Learn about the many organizations at work in the Homeless Assistance System and track progress through the Austin Homelessness Dashboard. Join the effort by getting involved with the programs and community organizations making a difference in our community.
  • Austin Homelessness Advisory Committee (AHAC) – The AHAC is part of Austin’s efforts to improve coordination across the city to combat homelessness, by getting individuals who have experienced homelessness to contribute to policymaking, give feedback on services and resources, and assist in the design of materials and outreach for the homeless.
  • Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) – The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) is the lead agency that plans and implements community-wide strategies to end homelessness in Austin and Travis County.
  • Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) – Front Steps runs the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless/ARCH and offers a continuum of services that help people transition from homelessness into housing.
  • The Other Ones Foundation – The Other Ones Foundation is a nonprofit that offers extremely low-barrier work opportunities, case management, and humanitarian aid to people experiencing homelessness in Austin, TX.
  • Mobile Loaves and Fishes / Community First Village – Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) serves its homeless neighbors through three core programs: Truck Ministry, Community First! Village and Community Works.
  • Caritas of Austin – Caritas of Austin provides stable housing, food, education classes, job services and veterans assistance.
  • Salvation Army – The Salvation Army is the largest provider of emergency shelter in Central Texas, serving men, women, and children with shelter, addiction rehabilitation, clothing, meals, holiday support, and direct client assistance. 
  • SAFE Alliance – The SAFE Alliance supports survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence.