Affordable Housing

10:50 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Do Austin Policies Help or Hurt Affordable Housing?

The Austin City Council recently OK'd putting a $65 million affordable housing bond to voters this November.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Austin’s the fastest-growing large city in the country.

All of the city’s socio-economic groups are growing – from the very affluent to people with lower incomes. It’s those low-income Austinites who struggle to find housing as prices climb higher.

Starting next week, Austin voters will decide whether to approve $65 million in bonds to pay for affordable housing initiatives. But regardless of the election results, the need is not likely to go away soon.

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9:28 am
Fri October 4, 2013

America's Oldest Veteran Lives in Austin. What Happened to Him Yesterday Will Make You Smile

107-year-old Richard Overton relaxes on his front lawn. Yesterday, dozens of volunteers fixed the East Austin home Overton’s lived in since 1945.
Mark Gwin for KUT News

A diverse group of volunteers braved the heat Thursday to upgrade the residence of 107-year-old World War II veteran Richard Overton – the country’s oldest living World War II veteran.

The East Austin house has been Overton's home since he built it in 1945, when he returned from war. And though he’s done some upgrades over the years, it was beginning to have some serious issues: broken windows, a failing refrigerator and more.

But then a team of several dozen volunteers came to fix it all.

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Affordable Housing
8:46 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Learn More About Austin's $65 Million Affordable Housing Vote Tonight

Affordable housing bond dollars would go to new construction, rental assistance, home ownership initiatives and repair programs.

A year after voters narrowly rejected the proposal, the Austin City Council is once again asking voters to approve tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing.

The City of Austin will host the first of four community information sessions today about this November’s $65 million affordable housing bond.

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Affordable Housing
5:10 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

These 'Affordable' Apartments Operate Tax Free. Too Bad They Have the Most Code Violations in Austin

The walkway leading to Oak Hollow resident William Towne’s apartment was redone a couple of months ago. But the wood was untreated and is already curling up. Chipping paint is very common throughout the complex.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Oak Hollow is a community of 429 apartments in northwest Austin. It’s operated as affordable housing by a group called American Opportunity for Housing.

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.

But it’s a property with a reputation among renters’ advocates.

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Affordable Housing
4:17 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Affordable Housing Advocates Call for Vote on $65 Million Bond

Apartments at M Station, an affordable apartment complex financed and operated by nonprofit Foundation Communities.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Austin voters will likely be asked to approve bond dollars for affordable housing, after a similar proposition was voted down in last November.

On Monday, city council members Sheryl Cole, Bill Spelman and Chris Riley, along with housing advocates from Keep Austin Affordable, 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.

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5:48 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Looks to Reinvigorate Austin's 'Brand'

Members of the Austin Chamber of Commerce met on June 6 to discuss the city's future.
Luke Quinton, KUT News

Is Austin's "brand" being diluted? 

The Austin Chamber of Commerce had a round-table discussion today that asked exactly that. The consensus was upbeat, but Jack McDonald, CEO of Silverback Enterprise Group, said a lack of affordable housing will be a more serious concern this decade ahead.

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1:54 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Under One Roof: Listeners React to KUT's Affordable Housing Series

KUT's listeners have their say on affordable housing in Austin.

Last week KUT News spent some time looking at affordable housing in Austin in "Under One Roof: Affordable Housing 101." 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.

We heard from quite a few people about this series and about some of the other issues around affordable housing as well.

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6:05 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Under One Roof: Where Is the Public and Political Will for Affordable Housing?

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

For many, Election Night 2012 was a great night.

At the Driskill Hotel, Travis County Democrats toasted President Obama’s victory. But Walter Moreau with Foundation Communities, one of Austin’s largest affordable-housing providers, wasn’t celebrating.

“All the other bonds passed, so it’s hard to say why …” Moreau began.

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6:05 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Under One Roof: How Does Affordable Housing Get Financed?

The M Station affordable-housing complex on MLK Boulevard got financing from 17 places.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Real estate finance under any circumstances is complicated. When it comes to affordable housing, it’s even more so.

So to make this as simple as we can, we’re going to use Austin’s M Station as an example. The 150-unit apartment complex is right next to the Red Line tracks on MLK Boulevard.

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6:05 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Under One Roof: Who Develops Affordable Housing for Austin?

Scott Wilson says affordable housing is built to last. "At a commercial project, the owner often may only be there for four or five years.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

It’s early morning – still dark outside – and Walter Moreau is already done with his morning run. When I meet him he’s downtown, getting ready for his workout.

“I think there’s a lot of things here in the gym that translate to work,” he says.

Moreau leads Foundation Communities – Austin’s largest non-profit builder and manager of affordable housing.   

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Affordable Housing 101
5:17 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Interactive Map: Average Price for Austin Homes

This interactive map was created using MLS data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors

Click on the dots to view the average sales price of Austin homes for each month from January 2008 to April 2013. 

Affordable Housing 101
6:05 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Under One Roof: Who’s Using Affordable Housing in Austin?

A home in the Blackland neighborhood of East Austin. A neighborhood development corporation helps create homes affordable to low-income families.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

If you’re going on a tour through the world of affordable housing, it’s good to have one of Austin’s most knowledgeable experts as your tour guide.

Meet Stuart Hersh. He’s a consultant with non-profit organizations that help produce affordable housing. During the last 30 years, Hersh has worked in a variety of fields that have to do with writing and enforcing building codes to writing affordable housing regulations.

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Affordable Housing 101
6:05 am
Mon May 20, 2013

KUT News Presents 'Under One Roof: Affordable Housing 101'

Morning at Mueller, the former Austin airport. Redevelopement plans for the city-owned land called for a mix of housing, including affordable housing.

Last November, Austin voters were asked to approve almost $80 million for affordable housing.

They chose not to.

As the city considers putting the question to voters again this fall, KUT News asks: just how does affordable housing work in Austin?

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8:22 am
Mon May 13, 2013

For One Austin School, Funding Hangs on Affordable Housing

Travis Heights Elementary could see enrollment slide if nearby housing prices rise.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Residents at the Oak Creek Village apartments in south Austin are waiting to see if the state grants a developer tax incentives to construct a new, larger complex in its place.  The developer, Eureka Family Group, wants to keep 173 units as affordable housing — which would allow current residents to stay in their homes.

But, if the state doesn't approve the project, many residents might have to move.  Educators and parents at the nearby school — Travis Heights Elementary — are also concerned.

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3:50 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Austin’s Affordable Housing Backers Trying for Bond Again

A bond to help fund affordable housing lost in the November 2012 election.
Mose Buchele, KUT News

Housing advocates in Austin and local religious and political leaders want to try again with a measure on November’s ballot for affordable housing dollars. So today they kicked off a Keep Austin Affordable campaign.

“As you know, the voters of Austin narrowly voted against the housing bonds last fall – not out of spite, or malice or unkindness,” said Marshall Jones with the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition.

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City Hall Hustle
5:06 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

City Hall Hustle: Luxury Hotels, Affordable Housing & the Zoning Brawl Over Downtown Density

How (or whether) to capture public benefit from increased zoning density Downtown is consuming the council's attention.

The City Council adopted the Downtown Austin Plan in late 2011. With it, the council OK’d what’s called the Downtown Density Bonus Program. It basically says that developers who want to build more densely than the standards allow would have to offer certain community benefits: things like on-site affordable housing or a paying into a fund for affordable housing elsewhere.

But nearly a year and a half later, Austin’s still waiting on specific guidelines for the Density Bonus Program.

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Affordable Housing
1:58 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A Minimum Wage Job in Austin Gets You a Two-Bedroom Apt. – And a 111-Hour Work Week

In order for housing to be considered affordable, it shouldn’t cost tenants more than 30 percent of their income.

Austin has the highest average rent in the state of Texas. And Austinites trying to afford housing on minimum wage need to work close to three full-time jobs.

That’s according to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The non-profit looked at the average fair market rent for Austin apartments and calculated how many hours minimum wage workers need to work so their rent is affordable – meaning it’s no more than 30 percent of their earnings.

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Affordable Housing
1:32 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Sequester Expected to Squeeze Austin's Affordable Housing Programs (Update)

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell (R) at a city council work session in 2011. Today, Leffingwell announced some affordable housing programs will see a cut due to federal sequestration.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Update: You can now read the full letter HUD sent to its grantees around the country, including Austin. 

Original Post (12:05 p.m.): Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says the federal spending cuts known as the sequester will have an effect on affordable housing in the city.

Mayor Leffingwell says he was notified of the cuts by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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10:40 am
Tue February 19, 2013

The Improbable Tale of Affordable Housing in Wealthy Clarksville

“Affordable affluence” may seem like an oxymoron. But, in the Clarksville neighborhood of Austin, a place where a modest one-bedroom/one bath home goes for a quarter of a million dollars, neighbors are trying something a little different. They’re making some homes affordable for families that would otherwise be priced out of the neighborhood. By the end of this week, two more families will be moving into newly renovated Clarksville homes.

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Austin City Council
3:02 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Nothing But Net Revenues: Here's Your City Council Budget Brackets

Mayor Lee Leffingwell thinks funding for some initiatives is a slam dunk.
Flickr user mvongrue,; Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

We’re still about a month away from March Madness, but Austin City Council members are already filling out their brackets.

The council is deliberating what to do with a $14 million budget surplus at mid-fiscal year – the result of higher-than-expected sales tax and development revenues. The council held one work session delving into the topic already; at its work session tomorrow, the council’s posted to take action spending all or part of the available surplus.

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