The affordable housing crisis in Austin : how we got here, what it means, and what we need to do
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Affordable housing availability and cost-burden rates for low-income and middle-income households in Austin, Texas are worse than both the national and state averages. As population growth has outpaced housing development, the subsequent rise in property value has created higher housing costs that impede the ability for households to accrue social safety net savings and meet basic needs such as food, shelter, and medical care. This report aimed to examine the history of public and private policy that impacted non-white residents’ ability to accrue wealth and achieve homeownership. In addition, this report examined current affordable housing within the city and its geospatial location in relation to coexisting social service need data within Austin zip codes. The findings of this report show that affordable housing development has primarily occurred in historically African American neighborhoods East of Highway I35. Furthermore, analysis of United Way 2-1-1 caller data of unmet social serviced need indicates high levels of unmet service need existing within these areas. In light of these findings, recommendations to improve affordable housing include: expansion of Pay-for–Success financing for creating Permanent Supportive Housing; push for legislation to create redevelopment zones as well as tax abatements for low-income home owners; funding towards the affordable housing strike fund; and expansion of wraparound services amongst affordable housing providers.
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