Affordable Housing

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.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Since 2000, the City of Austin has had a lot of ideas about how to slow down gentrification. A task force recommended in 2002, for example, that the city educate residents about available property tax exemptions. In 2008, City Council members asked the city manager to find city-owned land suitable for affordable housing.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For the past several weeks, a group of nine local nonprofits, government agencies and private companies have been mapping out new solutions to the city’s housing affordability problem. Last night, they presented their ideas at the Impact Hub, a coworking space on North Lamar, which organized the effort.

Jon Shapley for KUT

A group of local nonprofits, government agencies and private companies are taking part in what’s called the Affordable Housing Accelerator to address Austin’s housing affordability issues.

Courtesy of Reba Parker

Part 2 of a series on tiny houses

Reba Parker was living in Charleston, S.C., when she first learned about the tiny-home movement. She started searching online, looking into where in the country she could legally live in a tiny home.

Spur, Texas, popped up No. 1,” Parker says. “So I flew out to Spur, checked it out, bought some land. Within a year, I was in Spur.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Part 1 of a two-part series on tiny homes

As Austin’s housing prices continue to climb, developers are tapping into the trend of building tiny homes.

Kasita CEO Martyn Hoffmann says the Austin-based company is hoping to make home-ownership affordable for more residents through its space-saving designs.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is moving forward with plans for the region’s first-ever fair housing assessment. The effort aims to shed light on issues of housing discrimination across Central Texas.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

De Shaun Ealoms always dreamed of owning a home, but she wasn’t sure how she’d get there.

After her son was diagnosed with autism, Ealoms moved to Austin from Dallas to be closer to her parents. To help cover her living expenses, she signed up for Section 8, the commonly used name for the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, which helps low-income families pay rent.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A few dozen protesters gathered in downtown Austin on Friday and marched down East Fifth Street and into the Westin hotel, where a class on investing in mobile home parks was reportedly being held.

The protesters, dressed in graduation caps and gowns, held signs calling for justice and a "diploma" from Colorado-based Mobile Home University for "unethical investment and mismanagement."

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Laura Soto, 38, sands several planks of wood that will serve as the trim for the outside of her new home. A plank of wood labeled “front porch” and another labeled “door” lie just feet from her. On a break from working, she talks color palette.

“The trim will be the rich white, the outside of the house will be darker gray, and the door will be a lighter gray and there will be an accent wall of a grayish, blue color,” she says.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The first residents are beginning to move into new homes in Whisper Valley, a green housing development near Walter E. Long Lake in eastern Travis County.

While this type of eco-friendly housing is usually cost-prohibitive, the homes in Whisper Valley start in the low $200,000s, says Douglas Gilliland, president of the developer, Taurus of Texas.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A popular shopping center in Northwest Austin could be redeveloped to include hundreds of apartments.

The 17-acre site, owned by Great Hills Retail Inc., currently includes a shopping center, restaurants, a movie theater and a bank. It will be up to Austin City Council to decide whether to allow for new types of development there.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

At a September meeting of the Austin Independent School District's board of trustees, almost half of the public comments weren't about academic issues. Instead, they were about housing. Students, parents, teachers and other community members were asking the board to create affordable housing at the former Allan Elementary School on the East Side.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

Developers that want to build low-income housing in wealthier neighborhoods should engage more with neighborhood groups to convince them of the merits of affordable housing.

That’s one recommendation in a study published today by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

A development going up in East Austin could provide a more affordable option for home ownership. 

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Wendy Rivera sat on a metal folding chair outside the shelter for Harvey evacuees in Southeast Austin. She shared a 44-ounce convenience store soda with her husband, Ramiro, a soft-spoken and tattooed man, who used his body and a white towel to shade the two from the sun.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

An industrial-sized fridge hums in the background as Hannah Frankel, 28, gives a tour of her housing cooperative, pointing out the shared kitchen, pantry and meeting rooms.

“We consistently have a waitlist,” she says. “We consistently have a great demand.”

Syeda Hasan / KUT

Austin City Council has voted to sue the state of Texas over a law that blocks the city from enforcing an anti-discrimination housing ordinance.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Lisa Martinez walks around her newly renovated two-bedroom apartment at Manchaca Village, pointing out her favorite features: the blue accent wall in her living room, a new washer and dryer, and, best of all, a new dishwasher. She says it has made it much easier to clean up after her four kids.

The 33-unit apartment complex in South Austin is the first of 18 public housing properties the housing authority has renovated as part of an ambitious plan announced last year.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin City Council is set to take up a measure Thursday to encourage affordable housing to be more evenly dispersed throughout the city.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Dozens of activists and affordable housing residents gathered on the steps of City Hall on Saturday to speak against proposed cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The rising cost of construction has made it harder to build affordable homes in Central Austin, housing analysts said Thursday at the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin midyear housing forecast event.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Moses Shepherd, founder and CEO of ACE Petroleum, a Detroit-based national fuel supplier.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

For years, talk of affordable housing has dominated discussions at Austin City Hall. As the cost of living continues to climb, Mayor Steve Adler has expressed concern that the city is on its way to sky-high real estate prices like those in San Francisco. But how much power does the city actually have to influence the housing market?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin City Council approved a review today of how fair housing practices measure up in Austin and across Central Texas. 

The federal Fair Housing Act aims to protect people from discrimination when renting, buying or financing a home. Despite those protections, the reality is that housing discrimination persists in many cities. This will be the first time the Austin-Round Rock metro area gets a comprehensive look at this issue across the entire region. 

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