Affordable Housing http://kut.org en Can Anything Be Done to Lower Austin's Property Taxes? http://kut.org/post/can-anything-be-done-lower-austins-property-taxes <p>The deadline to file a protest regarding your property tax appraisal is fast approaching – Monday, June 2.</p><p>Many people in Travis County are shocked to learn how much their property values – and consequently, their property taxes ­– might go up this year. County officials say valuations have risen roughly 15 percent on average this year. But as seen in <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Austin/comments/24a06n/travis_co_2014_property_assessment_online_now/">this local Reddit discussion</a>, many homeowners are facing 25 percent and 30 percent increases ­–&nbsp;and higher.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Sticker shock is so prevalent, Travis County Commissioners say their phones haven't stopped ringing from residents calling, asking for help.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 28 May 2014 20:36:47 +0000 Joy Diaz 10509 at http://kut.org Can Anything Be Done to Lower Austin's Property Taxes? Do Austinites Have Choices When it Comes to Housing? http://kut.org/post/do-austinites-have-choices-when-it-comes-housing <p>If you live or work in the City of Austin, have you asked yourself why you chose to work or live where you do? Well, the City of Austin wants to know the answers to those questions to help plan for the future.</p><p>The city is conducting a<a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/housingsurvey" target="_blank"> “housing choice survey.”</a>&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">But with the current shortage of housing, do </span>Austinites<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> have any real choice in where they live?</span></p><p>Word on the street is that Austinites have very few housing choices. At least, that’s what rapper “Blind Man” says as he finds his way with his cane to a bench on East 11<sup>th</sup> Street. Mon, 28 Apr 2014 11:06:20 +0000 Joy Diaz 10304 at http://kut.org Do Austinites Have Choices When it Comes to Housing? Austin's Rent is the Most Expensive in Texas http://kut.org/post/austins-rent-most-expensive-texas <p><em>This story was co-reported with <a href="http://reportingtexas.com/">Reporting Texas</a>, a project of UT Austin's School of Journalism.</em></p><p>Once again, Austin has landed at the top of another list. But this one doesn’t put the city in the best light.</p><p>In Austin, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,074 per month – the highest in Texas. That amount is $202 more than the average fair market rent for the state.</p><p>The figure comes from the <a href="http://nlihc.org/">National Low Income Housing Coalition</a>'s annual <a href="http://nlihc.org/oor/2014">“Out of Reach” report</a>, which details how much it costs to live in different metropolitan areas around the United States.</p><p> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 16:45:02 +0000 Andrew Huygen 10044 at http://kut.org Austin's Rent is the Most Expensive in Texas Austin Considers Measure Aimed at Lowering Cost of Tiny Apartments http://kut.org/post/austin-considers-measure-aimed-lowering-cost-tiny-apartments <p>The City of Austin could remove off-street parking space requirements for developers who build some apartments <a href="http://kut.org/post/tiny-apartments-could-be-big-answer-austins-housing-crunch">smaller than 500 square feet</a> –&nbsp;dwellings known as "micro-units." Advocates say&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">it could encourage development of the micro-units along public transit corridors. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"We're talking about 300- or 400-square-foot apartments. I</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">s there a market for that? In some cities, it looks like there has been</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">," Council Member Bill </span>Spelman<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> said Tuesday during <a href="http://austintx.swagit.com/play/03252014-558">a council work session</a>. "This is another way of simply reducing the cost. The whole thing is really about affordable housing."&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">City code requires most residential developments to have <a href="http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll?f=jumplink$jumplink_x=Advanced$jumplink_vpc=first$jumplink_xsl=querylink.xsl$jumplink_sel=title;path;content-type;home-title;item-bookmark$jumplink_d=texas(austin)$jumplink_q=[field%20folio-destination-name:%27APPENDIX%20A.%20%20TABLES%20OF%20OFF-STREET%20PARKING%20AND%20LOADING%20REQUIREMENTS.%27]$jumplink_md=target-id=JD_APPENDIXA.TABLESOFOFF-STREETPARKINGANDLOADINGREQUIREMENTS.">at least one off-street parking space</a> per unit. Council removed most of those requirements <a href="http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Texas/austin/title25landdevelopment/chapter25-6transportation?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:austin_tx$anc=JD_Chapter25-6Article7Division5">for downtown businesses</a> last year.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:26:56 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10034 at http://kut.org Austin Considers Measure Aimed at Lowering Cost of Tiny Apartments Austin City Council Votes to Lower Occupancy Limits http://kut.org/post/austin-city-council-votes-lower-occupancy-limits <p class="p1">The Austin City Council had a long day at the dais yesterday, with a meeting that sputtered along for the better part of 15 hours.</p><p class="p1">"Stealth dorms," fee waivers, economic incentives, an officer-involved shooting, the MoPac sound wall and&nbsp; even a proclamation for KUT's own Cactus Cafe.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">With that in mind, here's a rundown of the council action, and inaction, from yesterday.</p><p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:13:14 +0000 KUT Staff 9784 at http://kut.org Austin City Council Votes to Lower Occupancy Limits City Council Poised to Decide on 'Stealth Dorm' Regulations http://kut.org/post/city-council-poised-decide-stealth-dorm-regulations <p>The city of Austin limits the number of unrelated adults who can live in a single-family home. Right now, that limit is six.</p><p>But there’s a push before the <a href="http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=515&amp;doctype=agenda" target="_blank">Austin City Council</a> to lower that number to four.&nbsp; The Austin City Council meets today to decide whether to impose new rules that would lower occupancy limits – and do away with what some call “<a href="http://kut.org/post/will-occupancy-limits-aimed-stealth-dorms-hurt-austin-affordability" target="_blank">stealth dorms</a>.”</p><p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:18:20 +0000 Joy Diaz 9778 at http://kut.org City Council Poised to Decide on 'Stealth Dorm' Regulations Will Occupancy Limits Aimed at 'Stealth Dorms' Hurt Austin Affordability? http://kut.org/post/will-occupancy-limits-aimed-stealth-dorms-hurt-austin-affordability <p>A fight pitting affordable housing against neighborhood quality is headed to the Austin City Council.</p><p>Austin’s <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/planningcommission">Planning Commission</a> is recommending a reduction in the number of unrelated adults allowed to live together in single-family homes: the maximum would fall from six down to four.</p><p>Last night’s action was in response to complaints that neighborhoods were suffering from what opponents call “stealth dorms.”</p><p> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 19:35:21 +0000 Mark Gwin 9671 at http://kut.org Will Occupancy Limits Aimed at 'Stealth Dorms' Hurt Austin Affordability? Tiny Apartments Could Be Big Answer to Austin's Housing Crunch http://kut.org/post/tiny-apartments-could-be-big-answer-austins-housing-crunch <p>Micro-units – apartments of 500 square feet or less – might be Austin's next big building trend.</p><p>As the city's population continues to climb, troubles have mounted with providing affordable&nbsp;housing. To address the issue, the Austin City Council is asking the city manager to study the feasibility of micro-unit projects.</p><p>"Micro-units will allow people to live closer to downtown at a more affordable cost," says council member Bill&nbsp;Spelman.</p> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 16:30:55 +0000 Filipa Rodrigues 9626 at http://kut.org Tiny Apartments Could Be Big Answer to Austin's Housing Crunch Austin Voters OK $65 Million Affordable Housing Bond by Wide Margin http://kut.org/post/austin-voters-ok-65-million-affordable-housing-bond-wide-margin <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Election day returns show Austin’s $65 million affordable housing bond passing by a wide margin, with nearly 61 percent of voters approving the measure.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It’s the second time in a year affordable housing has been on the ballot in Austin. Last year, a similar bond proposition was narrowly defeated.</span></p><p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 04:57:37 +0000 KUT Staff 9103 at http://kut.org Austin Voters OK $65 Million Affordable Housing Bond by Wide Margin Early Voting Underway: What Voters Need to Know for the Nov. 5 Election (Update) http://kut.org/post/early-voting-underway-what-voters-need-know-nov-5-election-update <p><strong>Updated Friday, November 1 at 7:37am:</strong> Early voting ends today for the Nov. 5 election.</p><p>There are <a href="http://www.traviscountyclerk.org/eclerk/Content.do?code=E.47" target="_blank">19 early voting locations in Travis County</a> and several mobile locations.</p><p><strong>What's On the Ballot:</strong></p><ul><li>Austin residents will vote on the <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/801238-final-affordable-housing-bond-voter-information.html" target="_blank">city’s $65 million affordable housing bond</a>. Voters <a href="http://kut.org/post/map-how-prop-15-affordable-housing-bond-lost" target="_blank">narrowly declined</a> a proposed $78.3 million bond last November.</li><li>There's a special election in <a href="http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/fyiwebdocs/PDF/house/dist50/m1.pdf" target="_blank">Texas House District 50</a> to fill the seat vacated by former State Rep. Mark Strama. Strama <a href="http://kut.org/term/mark-strama">announced his resignation last spring</a>. Fri, 01 Nov 2013 12:37:08 +0000 Emily Mathis & Laura Rice 8980 at http://kut.org Early Voting Underway: What Voters Need to Know for the Nov. 5 Election (Update) Are Bonds Austin's Best Way to Support Affordable Housing? http://kut.org/post/are-bonds-austins-best-way-support-affordable-housing <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This November, </span>Austinites<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> are being asked to approve a $65 million affordable housing bond. The money would go toward building and renovating affordable housing projects; purchasing land to build affordable housing on; and funding of ongoing affordable housing initiatives. You can </span><a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/811870-travis-county-sample-ballot-for-nov-5-2013-joint.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">see a sample ballot here</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p>But it was just one year ago that voters <a href="http://kut.org/post/map-how-prop-15-affordable-housing-bond-lost">rejected a similar bond proposition</a>.</p><p>With that recent loss, some have asked whether issuing tax-supported municipal bonds is the best way to fund affordability in Austin.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117624452" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 15:42:27 +0000 Joy Diaz 9044 at http://kut.org Are Bonds Austin's Best Way to Support Affordable Housing? Colony Park: Can Austin Transform a Community Without Displacing it? http://kut.org/post/colony-park-can-austin-transform-community-without-displacing-it <p class="p1"><a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/department/about-colony-park"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A new </span>master plan</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> for the Colony Park neighborhood will use a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of <a href="http://HUD.gov">Housing and Urban Development</a> in an effort to revitalize the area. The project resembles the planning of Mueller in scope and ambition, but some residents are concerned the project might eventually displace them.</span></p><p class="p1"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">At a Saturday community engagement meeting, residents in the Colony Park area said they were concerned the city might move on to implementation of the plan without their approval.</span></p><p> Mon, 21 Oct 2013 21:58:34 +0000 Carrie Powell 8985 at http://kut.org Colony Park: Can Austin Transform a Community Without Displacing it? Do Austin Policies Help or Hurt Affordable Housing? http://kut.org/post/do-austin-policies-help-or-hurt-affordable-housing <p>Austin&rsquo;s the fastest-growing large city in the country.</p><p>All of the city&rsquo;s socio-economic groups are growing &ndash; from the very affluent to people with lower incomes. It&rsquo;s those low-income&nbsp;Austinites&nbsp;who struggle to find housing as prices climb higher.</p><p>Starting next week, Austin voters will decide whether to approve&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/post/learn-more-about-austins-65-million-affordable-housing-vote-tonight">$65 million in bonds</a>&nbsp;to pay for affordable housing initiatives.&nbsp;But regardless of the election results, the need is not likely to go away soon.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115466251" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 15 Oct 2013 15:50:24 +0000 Joy Diaz 8938 at http://kut.org Do Austin Policies Help or Hurt Affordable Housing? America's Oldest Veteran Lives in Austin. What Happened to Him Yesterday Will Make You Smile http://kut.org/post/americas-oldest-veteran-lives-austin-what-happened-him-yesterday-will-make-you-smile <p>A diverse group of volunteers braved the heat Thursday to upgrade the residence of <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/honor-flight-austin-departs-today-texas-oldest-living-vet-aboard">107-year-old World War II veteran</a> Richard Overton &ndash; the country&rsquo;s oldest living World War II veteran.</p><p>The East Austin house has been&nbsp;Overton&#39;s&nbsp;home since he built it in 1945, when he returned from war. And though he&rsquo;s done some upgrades over the years, it was beginning to have some serious issues: broken windows, a failing refrigerator and more.</p><p>But then a team of several dozen volunteers came to fix it all.</p><p> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 14:28:11 +0000 Mark Gwin 8855 at http://kut.org America's Oldest Veteran Lives in Austin. What Happened to Him Yesterday Will Make You Smile Learn More About Austin's $65 Million Affordable Housing Vote Tonight http://kut.org/post/learn-more-about-austins-65-million-affordable-housing-vote-tonight <p>A year after voters <a href="http://kut.org/post/surprise-over-prop-15-rejection-austin">narrowly rejected the proposal</a>, the Austin City Council is once again asking voters to approve tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing.</p><p>The City of Austin will host the <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/event/2013-affordable-housing-bond-community-information-session-0">first of four community information sessions</a> today about this November&rsquo;s $65 million affordable housing bond.</p><p> Thu, 03 Oct 2013 13:46:32 +0000 KUT Staff 8845 at http://kut.org Learn More About Austin's $65 Million Affordable Housing Vote Tonight These 'Affordable' Apartments Operate Tax Free. Too Bad They Have the Most Code Violations in Austin http://kut.org/post/these-affordable-apartments-operate-tax-free-too-bad-they-have-most-code-violations-austin <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F112061378" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Oak Hollow is a community of 429 apartments in northwest Austin. It’s operated as affordable housing by a group called <a href="http://aoh-inc.org/">American Opportunity for Housing</a>.</p><p>Built in 1972, keeping up a property like Oak Hollow can be expensive. The main source of income for American Opportunity for Housing is rent. And as a nonprofit, the community has a 100 percent tax exemption. The City of Austin estimates, over the last decade, that it has foregone upwards of $1 million in taxes from Oak Hollow.</p><p>But it’s a property with a reputation among renters’ advocates.</p><div> Mon, 23 Sep 2013 22:10:31 +0000 Joy Diaz 8764 at http://kut.org These 'Affordable' Apartments Operate Tax Free. Too Bad They Have the Most Code Violations in Austin Affordable Housing Advocates Call for Vote on $65 Million Bond http://kut.org/post/affordable-housing-advocates-call-vote-65-million-bond <p>Austin voters&nbsp;will likely be asked to approve bond dollars for affordable housing, after a similar proposition <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/map-how-prop-15-affordable-housing-bond-lost">was voted down</a>&nbsp;in last November.</p><p>On Monday, city council&nbsp;members Sheryl Cole, Bill&nbsp;Spelman&nbsp;and Chris Riley, along with housing advocates from&nbsp;<a href="http://keepatxaffordable.org/">Keep Austin Affordable</a>, announced their support for a $65 million bond program on the November 2013 ballot. They said the spending could finance more affordable housing – without raising the tax rate.</p><p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 21:17:14 +0000 Natalie Krebs 8213 at http://kut.org Affordable Housing Advocates Call for Vote on $65 Million Bond Chamber of Commerce Looks to Reinvigorate Austin's 'Brand' http://kut.org/post/chamber-looks-reinvigorate-austins-brand <p>Is Austin's "brand" being diluted?&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.austinchamber.com/index.php">Austin Chamber of Commerce</a> had a round-table discussion today that asked exactly that. The consensus was upbeat, but Jack McDonald, CEO of <a href="http://silverbackeg.com/index.html">Silverback Enterprise Group</a>, said a lack of affordable housing will be a more serious concern this decade ahead.</p><p> Thu, 06 Jun 2013 22:48:08 +0000 Luke Quinton 8030 at http://kut.org Chamber of Commerce Looks to Reinvigorate Austin's 'Brand' Under One Roof: Listeners React to KUT's Affordable Housing Series http://kut.org/post/under-one-roof-listeners-react-kuts-affordable-housing-series <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F94841548&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Last week KUT News spent some time looking at affordable housing in Austin in "<a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/week-kut-news-under-one-roof-affordable-housing-101">Under One Roof: Affordable Housing 101</a>." We got into the nuts and bolts of how nonprofit developers build affordable housing for low-income Austinites and why it’s in such short supply.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5; ">We heard from quite a few people about this series and about some of the other issues around affordable housing as well.</span></p><p> Fri, 31 May 2013 18:54:51 +0000 Matt Largey 7927 at http://kut.org Under One Roof: Listeners React to KUT's Affordable Housing Series Under One Roof: Where Is the Public and Political Will for Affordable Housing? http://kut.org/post/under-one-roof-where-public-and-political-will-affordable-housing <p>For many, Election Night 2012 was a great night.</p><p>At the Driskill Hotel, Travis County Democrats toasted President Obama’s victory. But Walter Moreau with <a href="http://www.foundcom.org/">Foundation Communities</a>, one of Austin’s largest affordable-housing providers, wasn’t celebrating.</p><p>“All the other bonds passed, so it’s hard to say why …” Moreau began.</p><p> Fri, 24 May 2013 11:05:00 +0000 Wells Dunbar 7864 at http://kut.org Under One Roof: Where Is the Public and Political Will for Affordable Housing?