City Council Should Support Afforable Housing Resolution

April 6, 2016

To Our Blog Readers,

This is a guest posting from David King, a longtime volunteer neighborhood advocate. David sent this message to Mayor Steve Adler and all City Council members. I encourage everyone to join in this effort and contact the Mayor and Council as well.

Dear Mayor Adler and Council Members:

Please support Council Member Ora Houston’s request to include preservation of existing affordable housing in the resolution (item #24 on this Thursday’s agenda). It directs the City Manager to develop recommendations to use bond funds for permanently affordable housing. Please include in the resolution the use of bond funding for low- and middle-income homeowners to make repairs to their homes.

The City’s strategies to generate new permanently affordable housing units through upzoning and density bonus programs have fueled gentrification in Central Austin neighborhoods. These programs incentivize higher density housing specifically in Central Austin; thereby increasing demand for a finite amount of land. As a result, land prices have skyrocketed in Central Austin and the new housing units are unaffordable to low- and middle-income families.

Gentrification has pushed thousands of low- and middle-income families out of our Central Austin neighborhoods while upzoning and density bonus programs have generated relatively few permanently affordable housing units in Central Austin. Why do we keep utilizing strategies that worsen gentrification while producing so little permanently affordable housing?

Please enact an affordable housing monitoring fee for development projects that are required to provide onsite affordable housing or pay a fee-in-lieu. Austin has various affordable housing programs that require developers to provide affordable housing but does not have the resources to effectively monitor and enforce all affordable housing agreements and requirements. As a result, the effectiveness of Austin’s affordable housing programs is uncertain and most likely diminished. A monitoring fee paid by developers will provide the City with resources to verify compliance with the affordable housing agreements and requirements.

Please enact an affordable housing impact analysis requirement for demolition permits for existing residential housing. Existing housing is more affordable to low- and middle-income families than new high-density housing. We should do more to help preserve existing affordable housing.

David King

Click on this link to get to the City Council agenda. Then click Item #24 and click again on “Draft Resolution.”


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