Affordable Housing

AFFORDABLE HOUSING 101
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

Under One Roof, Part Four: The Politics

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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AFFORDABLE HOUSING 101
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

Under One Roof, Part Three: The Money

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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AFFORDABLE HOUSING 101
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

Under One Roof, Part Two: The Developers

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

Under One Roof, Part One: The Users

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.
flickr.com/gjmj

A preview of “Under One Roof: Affordable Housing 101”

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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Education
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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Austin
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.
flickr.com/dingatx

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.
flickr.com/milestonemanagement

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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Austin
10:40 am
Tue February 19, 2013

The Improbable Tale of Affordable Housing in Wealthy Clarksville

  • Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

“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, http://bit.ly/12nQ9Ck; 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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Austin
5:05 am
Thu January 17, 2013

City May Try Again on Affordable Housing Bond

The bond for affordable housing was the only one that lost in November.
Mose Buchele, KUT News

The Austin City Council could take the first step toward another bond package aimed at affordable housing today. The proposal from council members Sheryl Cole, Bill Spelman and Chris Riley tells city staff to start preparing for a bond election, although it does not specify a dollar amount.

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Austin City Council
10:11 am
Thu December 13, 2012

City Council Preview: Circuit of the Americas’ Big Ask, Affordable Housing & More

City Hall is filled to the brim with council action today.
flickr.com/atmtx

The days go by so fast: Today marks the last Austin City Council meeting of the year. And at 98 items, it’s going out with a bang. Here ‘s what council has stuffed in their stocking:

Don’t Start Your Engines?: An organizing group with the Circuit of the Americas just received more than $29 million from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund to help pay for costs associated with putting on November’s Formula 1 event.

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2012 Bond Election
12:02 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Map: How Prop 15, the Affordable Housing Bond, Lost

Suburban neighborhoods largely voted against Prop 15, while the urban core voted in favor.
Ryan Robinson, via the City of Austin

All City of Austin bonds passed on election night except one: Proposition 15, which would have dedicated $78.3 million to affordable housing.

The map above shows how Prop 15 lost.

 Ryan Robinson is demographer for the City of Austin. He produced this map, plotting how the vote against Prop 15 went. The darkest blue voting precincts went overwhelmingly against Prop 15 (by a margin of 65 percent or more); the warmer-colored precincts were mixed or voted in favor, with less than 40 percent of voters in red precincts voting against Prop 15.

 While Prop 15 carried Central Austin,  a majority of suburban precincts, largely west of MoPac, voted it down.

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2012 Election
11:05 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

'Surprise' Over Prop 15 Rejection in Austin

Affordable housing initiative Prop 15 is the only Austin bond proposal headed toward defeat.
Mose Buchele for KUT News

Supporters of Proposition 15, a city ballot measure that would have spent $78.3 million on affordable housing, seem shocked that their bond proposal appears headed for defeat. It was the only bond proposition on the ballot that looks like it will be narrowly rejected. With almost 219,000 votes counted, 51.27 percent opposed the proposition and 48.73 supported it. 

“We’re going to have to take some time and figure out why the housing bond didn’t pass,” says Walter Moreau, executive director of the affordable housing non-profit Foundation Communities. “We had some visibility. We didn’t have opposition. We had support from the papers and Interfaith Action and affordable housing groups.”

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City Budget
4:42 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Proposed City Budget: $25 Million in Unmet Needs, Even With Property Tax Increase

Offsetting housing cuts and expediting development services are two prominent topics in budget talks.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The city is proposing a 1.8 cent increase in property taxes. That’s just a hair under the maximum increase allowed – 1.85 cents – without a special tax election.

That’s one of the findings in the City of Austin’s preliminary, proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013, presented to the City Council this morning.

Going off current median home values – approximately $182,000, but due to change once the county sets new property valuations – that’s a $33 annual increase.

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Austin
3:44 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

$400 Rent in Downtown Austin? Nonprofit Says They Can Make it Work

Construction of affordable housing downtown could start in less than a year.

At a meeting tonight, Austin nonprofit Foundation Communities is making a pitch for their Capital Studios development – 135 apartments to be located on what's now a parking lot at 11th street and Trinity.  A Foundation Communities spokesperson tells KUT News Capital Studios will be the first truly affordable downtown development in the last 40 years – and with rents ranging from $400 to $650, all bills paid, it’s hard to argue.

The low rents are designed to attract Austinites that work and play downtown, but can’t afford to live there – primarily young adults making $27,000 annually or less. Ten of the units will be reserved for working musicians and artists. Another 27 units will provide permanent supportive housing for clients transitioning out of homelessness, processed through agencies like Caritas, the Trinity Center, and the ARCH.

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Texas
12:04 pm
Fri July 29, 2011

Galveston Votes to Rebuild Public Housing on Island

The coastal city is still working to rebuild from 2008.
Photo by KUT News

While Texans eagerly await any and all rain from tropical storm Don, one gulf city continues the work of rebuilding after Hurricane Ike.

The Galveston City Council narrowly dismissed a resolution Thursday to rebuild 569 public housing units off the island, The Galveston County Daily News reports.

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