Austin Council Awards $15M for 300 Affordable Rental and Ownership Housing Units
Austin City Council has approved $15 million for eight new housing developments resulting in more than 300 income-restricted rental and ownership units. Approximately 148 of those units will be reserved for households earning at or below 50 percent of the Median Family Income (MFI), or $47,300 annual income for a family of four. Approximately 37 units will be reserved for households earning at or below 40 percent of MFI, and approximately 50 units will be reserved for households earning at or below 30 percent of MFI.
Funding for these developments comes from a variety of local and federal sources. More than $5.8 million comes from the $250 million Affordable Housing Bond program, approved by voters in 2018. An additional $7 million comes from fees collected from developer incentive programs, while the remaining $2.2 million comes from federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program.
"With this investment, we are making good on the 2018 Housing Bond commitment to help expand affordability to our teachers, hospitality employees, musicians, and healthcare and other workers who make this city great,” said Mayor Steve Adler.
These developments were evaluated under the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department’s (NHCD) new quarterly application process for Housing Development Assistance (HDA). Under this process, NHCD received 18 applications for HDA funding in the second quarter of 2019. After extensive review of the applications by NHCD staff, the independent Housing Investment Review Committee, and the department’s Executive Team, these eight developments were identified for funding:
“This funding will build 143 Supportive Housing Units (88 units at Foundation Village; 55 units at Burnet Place), which will provide substantial on-site health and mental health services to residents who were previously homeless or are at-risk of homelessness,” said Truelove.
Burnet Place is being built by nonprofit Project Transitions and will house low-income individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDs, and will provide services to guide residents through a comprehensive array of health and social services. Foundation Village is being constructed by nonprofit builder Foundation Communities. The development will include housing opportunities for low-income families with children at risk of homelessness.
Additionally, the developments will make available 30 units under the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) program, which provides rental assistance for extremely low-income persons with disabilities linked with long term services. The program is made possible through a partnership between Texas Department of Housing Community Affairs, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and specifically targets people with disabilities living in institutions; people with serious mental illness; and youth with disabilities exiting foster care.
New Land Development Code Revision Website and Blog Keeps Austinites Informed on Progress
Austin has been working to rewrite its 30-year-old Land Development Code to guide the community’s rapid growth while respecting Austin’s vision to make the city more equitable, accessible, and affordable to all. Austinites can stay up to date on the City’s progress by visiting the Land Development Code Revision website and blog.
The website provides a host of resources, including:
An ongoing timeline for where the City is in the planning process
Blog posts that provided deeper explanations and context to the topics under review;
Memoranda and other documents about the team structure, process, and Council policy direction; and
Background materials that are informing the recommendations, such as the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, the Strategic Housing Blueprint, and the Austin Strategic Direction 2023.
In May, City Manager Spencer Cronk assembled a broad-based cross-functional team to draft a revised code and zoning maps that would help achieve the 135,000 additional housing unit goal established by the Strategic Housing Blueprint. Ultimately, the goal for the new land use code is to balance the current homeowners’ desires to improve and preserve their properties, while encouraging new opportunities for density to meet the city’s new affordable housing and accessible transit goals.
To stay updated and engaged on the progress of the City’s land development code revision, including deeper dives into the code revision, read our online blog at: austintexas.gov/ldc.
City Approves 'Affordability Unlocked' Program to Remove Barriers to Affordable Housing
Austin City Council has approved a program called ‘Affordability Unlocked,’ that aims to remove barriers to affordable housing throughout the city.
Affordability Unlocked creates incentives to build low- and moderate-income affordable housing in exchange for waiving or modifying some development restrictions, for example height and density increases, parking and compatibility waivers, and reductions in minimum lot sizes.
“The City can better leverage public resources by enabling the addition of significantly more affordable housing units in developments,” said Rosie Truelove, director of the City’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department.
“'Affordability Unlocked' helps us to not only capitalize on the $250 million in Affordable Housing Bonds that voters approved in 2018, but also helps the City meet its ambitious community goal of creating and preserving 60,000 affordable housing units by 2027, as set in the Strategic Housing Blueprint,” Truelove said.