Affordable Housing

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Tuesday is the last day for public comment on a proposal that could evict or even separate thousands of families with mixed-citizenship status who receive housing assistance in Texas.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

Austin is in the grips of an affordability crisis. That's not news to Austinites, really, but a large part of that crisis stems from the housing supply failing to keep up with demand. 

A study out this week from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies shows Austin's not alone.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

To afford a two-bedroom rental home in the Austin-Round Rock area, you'll need a $25-an-hour job, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. If you're working a job that pays minimum wage, you're looking at a 140-hour workweek to afford that same two-bedroom.

Federal guidelines say residents should pay no more than 30% of their household income on rent and utilities.

 Google has reportedly leased an entire 35-story, 735,000-square-foot building under construction on Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you were relieved by last year’s announcement that Amazon’s HQ2 would go elsewhere – along with its potential 50,000 employees over 15 years – know this: Expansion efforts by Amazon, Apple and Google could produce a near-equivalent wave of folks coming to Austin – and sooner than any HQ2.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas is lacking in low-income housing, according to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The availability of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income renters in Texas – those making below the federal poverty level or 30 percent of an area's median income – was 29 homes available for every 100 renters. The national rate is 37 homes.

The Jeremiah Program Moody Campus is a 35-unit affordable housing development in East Austin that houses single mothers.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Some buildings in Austin reflect the city's zoning restrictions more than others.

Take the 35-unit affordable housing complex just south of East 12th Street. The building, which houses low-income single mothers and provides on-site child care, looks a bit like a tiered cake.

Courtesy of We Print Houses

An Austin-based company is ushering in 3D technology that makes it easier for builders to print homes.

Residential building company Sunconomy LLC and California-based Forge New last week introduced We Print Houses, a system that can be licensed by contractors and builders to construct homes in only a few months.

F Delventhal/Flickr

Prak Property Management Inc. has been digging into savings to keep some of its low-income properties in Austin running.

“It’s like a savings account that every month we are required to put a certain amount of dollars into for things like roofs, appliances, that sort of thing,” said Brad Prak, a management agent with the Texas-based company.

Celeste Noche for KUT

As Austin grows, it’s getting more difficult for middle-income people to afford the city. But Austin is not alone; cities across the country are facing similar issues. KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy traveled to Seattle, Denver and Portland to find out how each city is dealing with rapid growth – and how they're trying to make sure every resident benefits from it.

Kirsten Leah Bitzer for KUT

Austin is growing and it’s getting more difficult for middle-income people to afford the city. But Austin is not alone; cities across the country are facing similar issues. KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy traveled to Seattle, Denver and Portland to find out how each city is dealing with rapid growth – and how each is trying to make sure every resident benefits from it.

Roving-Aye/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Austin is growing and it’s getting more difficult for middle-income people to afford the city. But Austin is not alone; cities across the country are facing similar issues. KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy traveled to Seattle, Portland and Denver to find out how each city is dealing with rapid growth – and how they're trying to make sure every resident benefits from it.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin voters gave the OK to seven bond propositions that total more than $925 million this election, while two propositions fueled by citizen petitions – Propositions J and K – failed.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin voters will decide this November on the fate of seven bond propositions totaling $925 million. Proposition A asks voters to decide on a $250 million bond for affordable housing. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For the first time in four years, the housing choice voucher program – formerly known as Section 8 – has reopened its waitlist to Austin residents in need of rental assistance.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is slowly making progress toward becoming a more affordable city, according to a new analysis, but many residents are still finding it difficult to pay for housing.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Candace Hunter applied to live at the Reserve at Springdale as soon as she could. When the nearly 300-unit property opened last year, it brought much-needed affordable housing to East Austin.

Within the year, the complex – which houses Austinites earning 60 percent or less of the median income ($51,600 annually for a family of four) – completely filled up.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council will have the chance next month to tweak the specifics of a $925 million bond package it approved last month for the Nov. 6 ballot. But the vote was not unanimous, as some council members expressed concern about the accompanying property tax hike.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

Austin City Council members have outlined a $925 million bond to pay for items such as affordable housing, park updates and road repairs that will be put to voters in November. The bond could be paid for, in part, by raising the property tax rate.

Callie Hernandez / KUT

The Austin City Council is set to vote tomorrow on adopting the city manager’s recommendation for a 2018 bond package. Austin voters would decide on whether to approve the $816 million referendum this November. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The road that leads to Blanca Torres' home isn't much of a road at all. It's a half-mile stretch of gravel and mud, surrounded by tall grasses. In certain parts, the road dips into stark potholes, and in others, large white rocks protrude from the earth.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council today approved a revised version of a proposal from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo to create a mortgage-assistance program for low-income homeowners.

The city manager will research similar programs used in other cities and return to City Council with a proposal by September.

Gabriel C. Pérez

A fund created to preserve affordable apartments in Austin has raised enough money to begin buying properties.

Affordable Central Texas is the nonprofit behind the Austin Housing Conservancy fund. President and CEO David Steinwedell says the goal is to buy 1,000 housing units over the next year.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Ben Hamill was confused. Down the street from his house in Brentwood, a building was going up, and he and his wife couldn’t quite place what it was. It looked like an apartment or a condo, as far as they could tell, with floor-to-ceiling windows, some cubist-looking eaves and all the trappings of a typical condo. Then they put up a sign: STORAGE.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has released a new comprehensive map of housing for low- and middle-income residents.

The digital map, known as the Affordable Housing Listing, shows an array of income-restricted housing units subsidized or incentivized by the city.

Stefan Keith for KUT

City leaders are weighing the possibility of putting an affordable housing bond on the ballot this November. A city task force is recommending a $161 million bond, but some Austin City Council members want to almost double that amount.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

After confusion about whether property the Alamo Drafthouse bought from the Austin Independent School District would include affordable housing, the project's architect confirmed Wednesday it's in the plans.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is trying to figure out how the latest draft of the proposed land development code, known as CodeNEXT, could shape the future of affordable housing.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council passed a resolution Thursday that aims to help bring families displaced by gentrification back to the city.

The measure calls for giving preference for affordable housing to displaced people who have generational ties to certain neighborhoods. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who wrote the resolution, calls it a “right to return” ordinance.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin is often cited as one of the most economically segregated cities in the nation. Some researchers say that divide has major social and economic implications.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When Billy Whipple was learning carpentry as a young man in New England, he got some strange advice about from a veteran carpenter.

“He had his old beliefs that holes [in houses] were good; they got you fresh air,” he says. “Now we’re so sophisticated that we manage the air.”

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