How Austin Can Increase Affordable Housing

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How Austin Can Increase Affordable Housing

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This November, Austin voters may decide if $250 million should be allocated to affordable housing. City council will make a final decision next month on whether that bond goes on the ballot.

In the meantime, leaders in affordable housing from the across the state are in Austin right now learning the best practices for building apartments and homes that low- and middle-income residents can afford. The Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers is holding its annual conference that includes more than one thousand developers, investors and government officials hearing from others across the state about what’s working and what isn’t.

“The challenging thing here in Austin is as this growth has occurred, affordability for rents for multi-family properties has become a challenge for the workforce,” says David Steinwedell, the CEO of Affordable Central Texas.

Some of the big solutions mentioned during the conference include more affordable housing bond referendums like the one Austin voters may decide in November.

“The fact that local government is coming out and committing to these initiatives shows their residents, their citizens and the state to keep economic development flowing,” says Roger Arriaga, the executive director for the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers.

The second is having non-profits like Affordable Central Texas. The group raises private dollars to invest and redevelop current apartments in an effort to keep them at affordable rates.

“By preserving that housing, we can provide for people who are integral to what makes Austin the place that we love and allows them to be closer in to jobs in the city and not have to get into a car and drive an hour each way,” says Steinwedell.

According to Austin’s Strategic Housing Blueprint, the city needs 60,000 additional affordable units.

City officials say the goal with voter-approved bonds is to try and make a dent in that number that only continues to climb.