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Austin

City Selling 12 Subsidized Homes For $110,000 Each

fronteir.jpg
Photo by City of Austin
This flier shows the homes and describes where they are located in the southeast Austin subdivision of Frontier at Montana.

People who meet the income requirements can apply to purchase one of twelve newly constructed homes in a southeast Austin subdivision. The three-bedroom/two-bathroom homes were built with federal money and offer these features:

  • $110,000 price (homes are valued at $120,000)
  • Zero percent interest
  • No money down
  • 10-year home warranty
  • High energy efficiency

The income requirements are calculated as a multiple of federal poverty guidelines.  A single individual making $25,850 would qualify for the zero percent interest program. A family of six with combined income of $42,850 would also qualify. People who make more than that could possibly apply for down payment assistance.

The new homes, announced today, have already attracted a lot of attention. "The phones have literally been ringing off the hook," City of Austin spokesperson Jill Goodman told KUT News.

The city received funding to build the homes through the Texas Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a federally funded program that aims to decrease the decline of home values in neighborhoods that could be affected by “abandonment and blight.”

“We’re really excited about this program,” Goodman said. “These are properties that might otherwise become sources of blight in the neighborhood, so we can use that funding to build those twelve new homes, and then sell them at a lower rate.”

Thirty families have already moved into existing homes in the subdivision. The twelve new buildings are available on a first come, first served basis. You can find application information here.  

This subsidized housing will do nothing, however, to ease homelessness in Austin, according to Richard Troxell of House the Homeless.

“Most of our ‘affordable housing’ programs have nothing to do with homelessness,” Troxell told KUT News. “I don’t think tax dollars should be spent in that way.”

Troxell says the city should focus on creating a living-wage jobs program that would help homeless people work their way off the street. He says half of homeless people, by self-admission, are capable of working.

“We’re talking about people who don’t have anything, and don’t qualify for anything,” he said.

The City of Austin owns and operates almost 2,000 housing units across Austin, and manages the Section 8 voucher program for another 5,000 units. Hundreds of people are on waiting lists for both programs.

Last year, the Austin City Council voted to create 350 permanent supportive housing units by 2014. One of the first projects to build 20 such homes on E. 12th Street was met with political resistance from neighbors. The City Council unanimously approved the project in December.

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