Affordable Housing: Challenges and Opportunities in Texas
University of Texas at Austin
The motivation for this issue brief begins with the University of Texas at Austin’s 10-year Strategic Plan, “Change Starts Here,” which commits to understanding affordability challenges for the university’s community. University leadership brought together a diverse group of stakeholders throughout the 2021-2022 academic year to share their perspectives about housing challenges and opportunities in Austin. To build on and broaden the geographic scope of this work leading up to the legislative session, a faculty collaboration representing the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the School of Architecture’s Community and Regional Planning department, the School of Law, and the Steve Hicks School of Social Work convened two focus groups to discuss housing affordability issues in fall 2022. Roundtable and breakout session conversations included participants from cities and metro areas throughout the state, including Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston/Harris County, Abilene, Lubbock, and El Paso. Discussion participants represented city governments, policy organizations, academia, real estate developers, investors, and housing advocacy organizations. The purpose of this document is to summarize the conversations and raise awareness of the key housing affordability themes and issues that emerged during the focus groups. Participant perspectives reflected the diversity of their experience working in the housing affordability space, and conflicting views were occasionally presented. The inclusion of identified issues in this brief does not imply that all participants were in agreement. Some participants offered ideas the state could take to help address housing affordability, which are shared, but this document does not intend to present policy recommendations.