Housing Department Provides 2018 Affordable Housing Bond Spending Update
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 by Kali Bramble
As part of its efforts to ease the city’s affordability crisis, the Austin Department of Housing and Planning stopped by the City Council’s Housing and Planning Committee last Tuesday to inform residents members of state affordable housing programs.
Briefing followed voter-approved $250 million funding in 2018. Breaking down the spending, housing and community development official James May said $100 million of those funds went to land acquisition programs, which translates to about 52.5 acres in seven council districts set aside for affordable housing. Further down the pipeline, three hotels are expected to bring more than 200 permanent supportive housing units over the next calendar year.
Council member Natasha Harper-Madison pointed to what appeared to be some regional disparity in the program, with District 1 totaling 0.45 acres of acquired land while other districts totaling up to 18.
“Prior to the 2018 bond, we purchased several parcels of land in District 1, including the Tannehill Housing Project, so we tried to balance things out,” said Mandy De Mayo, staff member of the Department of Housing and Planning. “We were excited to acquire land in District 8 as West Austin has historically been excluded as an affordable housing site. But I assure you that we are not finished yet.
Staffers also reported progress in the Community Land Trust program, designed to provide home ownership to those earning less than 80% of median family income through the removal of land price premiums that make drive up Austin’s real estate market. So far, the program has successfully filled 15 homes, with another 29 available through a lottery system this spring.
In addition to the land acquisition, staff members said the Rental Housing Development Assistance and Ownership Development Assistance programs received $94 million and $28 million, respectively, in funding. bond. Encouraging affordable development through matching funding and grants, staff highlighted the VI Collina complex and Hope in Rutland, hire this fall, as examples of the program’s success. The two developments will add a total of 342 affordable housing units (ranging from less than 50% to less than 80% MFIs) to the city’s portfolio.
Finally, staff reported that the remaining $28 million in bond dollars funded home repair programs that successfully rehabilitated more than 725 homes, including 124 units hit by winter storm Uri last February.
While the city still has a long road meet her 2017 Housing Strategic Master Plan Targets, which call for an ambitious 135,000 homes in 10 years, the committee seemed pleased with the existing progress. Next, the Department of Housing and Planning will launch the RFP process for an affordable housing development at 3515 Manor Road, aiming to provide 150-200 affordable units as well as 60 multi-family units for those exiting homelessness. .
“We have extremely high targets, but over the next two to three years we expect to see a doubling of our affordable housing stock through these new developments,” May said.
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