Affordable Housing

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

In a late Friday ruling, a district judge sided with a local activist against the City of Austin, voiding a December vote taken by city council members on the housing development Pilot Knob. Called Easton Park, the development plans to offer 1,500 apartments and 6,500 single-family homes in southeast Travis County.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Last November, the Austin City Council loosened regulations for what are called “accessory dwelling units.”  Those are buildings like backyard flats and garage apartments. Supporters of the change hoped it would bring more affordable housing to pricey neighborhoods. So, is it working?

What Can Austin Do to Support Its Musicians?

Sep 13, 2016
Austin Anderson/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Austin bills itself as the “Live Music Capital” of the world. But a flood of newcomers to the city has produced some dire consequences for the very people who've earned the city that title – the musicians who can no longer afford to live there.

Mayor Steve Adler says the city has reached a tipping point. 


Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

Rents are slowly getting more expensive across the nation, but a new report finds that they’re rising even faster for the lowest-priced properties.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

State lawmakers are set to hear testimony this morning on how to address affordable housing needs throughout Texas.


A city can feel like two totally different places depending on whether you rent or own your home, and Austin is no exception.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin is moving forward with a plan to renovate its public housing complexes, but some residents are concerned about where they’ll live during construction. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The Austin City Council has decided to postpone a zoning decision for the Elysium Park apartment complex, a new affordable housing development planned for North Austin. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

City officials are looking at expanding a tool to bring more affordable housing to Austin neighborhoods.

That tool is called a “density bonus.” Here’s how it works: The city grants developers certain privileges, like building more housing units or taller buildings than are typically allowed. In return, the development must provide a public benefit, like adding some units designated to be rented at below-market rates.

City leaders are considering a change that could add more affordable housing throughout Austin using the state’s Homestead Preservation District (HPD) designation.

Syeda Hasan / KUT

City of Austin regulators have released their latest report focused on making housing more affordable. This weekend, staff from the CodeNEXT initiative hosted a community walk to show how those changes could be implemented.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

If you're a regular listener to the Standard, you may remember Courtney Meeks. She's homeless and pregnant. When we met her in January, Meeks was standing at the corner of a busy intersection in Austin asking drivers for money. Back then, she thought she was really close to giving birth.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

As Austin’s housing prices continue to rise, the push for more affordable housing has grown louder, and there's an even greater need for places large enough to fit a family.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin City Council members will decide Thursday whether to revisit an affordable housing deal approved by vote in December. But just how they might go about reconsidering it is complicated.

The deal – called Pilot Knob – would move anywhere from $50 to $80 million dollars normally slotted for Austin Water’s coffers and put it into the city’s affordable housing trust fund. That financial information though, many council members have said, was not available to them at that December vote.

Image via Flickr/Nan Palmero (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

According to Forbes, Texas has four of America's next boom towns: Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Thanks to technology hubs like Austin and "opportunity cities" like San Antonio, Texas is pretty much the blueprint for America's cities of the future.

Image credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Few things translate into all cultures and backgrounds. Homelessness is one of them. No matter the country, there are people living in the streets. What varies is how communities try to deal with the issue.

In Austin, Alan Graham has spent decades feeding and housing the destitute with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, the organization he founded. Today Graham will be named Citizen of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. And while you may not have heard his name, chances are you've heard one of his most well-known prescriptions for homelessness – building communities of tiny houses for the disabled and chronically homeless.

Photo credit Joey Palacios/Texas Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

Texas Public Radio news director Shelley Kofler  has spent the past week on the impacts of population growth. TPR staff visited Fredericksburg and Bexar County, as well as middle-income and historic neighborhoods in San Antonio. She shared with the Standard some of the newsroom conversations she and her staff had that led to the "Growing Pains" series.

"A lot of this started just with us sharing our personal experiences in the newsroom," Kofler says. "And then we checked it out, and we looked at the data, and we said 'We have some real serious challenges here.'"


Image credit Jon Shapley/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

House Bill 11, passed during the 2015 legislative session, is a sweeping law pitched as part of a broader $800 million border security effort. It expands the border presence of the Texas National Guard, green-lights hiring more troopers, and mandates an intelligence center to analyze crime data at the border.

One of the law’s other provisions has recently drawn a lawsuit that's just now making headlines. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, better known as MALDEF, has filed suit against Texas over what's called the “immigrant harboring” provision. They argue that it's unconstitutional under federal law.


Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

What's the most indulgent thing you've ever done for your birthday? Checked something off your bucket list? Or bought yourself something really expensive? This week, Austinite Taylor Thompson turns 17 and he’s decided to go all out on a spending spree. Normally, birthdays at the Thompsons' are low-key celebrations. The family doesn't even blow up balloons.

This year, however, Taylor Thompson will be spending $170,000 dollars to celebrate his birthday. He announced his plans over the weekend in Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Demolition, it seems, follows Robin Wilkins.

Wilkins, 54, moved into the Lakeview Apartments on South Lakeshore Boulevard after another apartment building she was living in was slated to be torn down. She stayed for five years, paying no more than $720 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. Nonetheless, throughout that stay she knew the fate of the building: oblivion.