Affordable Housing

Someone points to a section of a map showing proposed zoning in a draft of Austin's new land development code.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council released the second draft of its land development code Friday. It's the latest step in the city's more than half-decade-long attempt to update the rules that determine what can be built in the city and where.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Here’s a statement that will shock very few in Austin: The city is becoming increasingly harder for renters to afford.

That’s according to an annual report released Thursday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Construction in downtown Austin
Julia Reihs / KUT

The Texas economy kept humming along in 2019, though at a slightly slower tempo than in the last few years. And while Austin will continue to grow in 2020, that growth will slow to what one economist calls a "more normal" rate of growth. 

UT Austin student Malik Julien in his kitchen at Town Lake Apartments.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Malik Julien has a bedroom and bathroom all to himself. But that’s not what sold him on his apartment in the East Riverside neighborhood.

Construction on Guadalupe Street in UT Austin's West Campus.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The University of Texas is rising – or rather, buildings on West Campus are now allowed to go higher.

The Austin City Council voted Thursday to increase height limits on buildings and to eliminate the number of parking spots developers are required to create.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A new Harvard University study on the state of the nation’s housing found that rapidly escalating land prices make construction of low-cost housing a challenge for many cities. Land prices have increased dramatically in Central Texas in recent years, making it difficult for nonprofits to provide affordable housing to low-income families.

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.

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