AUSTIN (KXAN) — “The most important thing we’re doing today is we’re building community.”
That’s what Travis County Commissioner, Jeff Travillion said during a speech at The Beckett Monday morning.
The Beckett is a new 302-unit affordable housing complex set to provide for a need in the area of east Austin along FM 969 east of Highway 130.
The ceremony’s press release states the units are “100-percent affordable workforce housing.”
“We’re short of affordable housing,” Jason Arechiga, Senior Vice President of Development for the NRP Group said. “The (median) income in Austin and Travis County is around $95,000 a year. That’s some of the highest in the nation. As that continues to grow, there’s a need for working families. They just don’t quite make enough to afford $3,000 a month in rent.”
The Beckett caps at a certain amount though.
“This housing is restricted for those who make 60% of area median income,” Arechiga said.
The commissioner’s court believed in the project for the potential of the area.
The reason that the commissioner’s court voted affirmatively on this is… we understood that while this is a low opportunity community today, within three years it will be a high opportunity area. We will have an H-E-B, we will have high transit because of the schools and the population moving out this direction.Travillion
Travillion held NRP accountable for making sure the new housing met the growing needs, so he gave them a list of things to do while developing the complex: “I asked them to do a few simple things: I asked them to reach out to the ISD, I asked them to reach out to Capital Metro and I asked them to really put programs together that would speak to the needs of this community.”
NRP Group representatives and others celebrated the grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony near the complex pool.
Beckett resident Brienna Taylor was one of those holding the ribbon. She was asked to attend today’s event to share her story. She is a single mom who moved to Austin in July from Wisconsin to find a new start for herself and her family.
But finding a place to live in Austin proved hard at first.
“Everything became a process so it was difficult,” Taylor said.
But she was determined, and eventually came across The Beckett.
“It was a dream come true because not every day you can walk into something like this… Every day, and say ‘I live here,'” Taylor said.
Travillion asked Taylor to speak in front of everyone during the press conference. She teared up describing how lucky she was to find affordable housing. She sat down with KXAN.
Today, I felt like it was very heartfelt. I don’t think they were saying ‘oh this is just another property’ and ‘hey, good business! We’re gonna make great money.’ I didn’t get that at all. What I got was we’re developing something to change a city and to know that I’m in the beginning process of that. That is just amazing.Brienna Taylor
Patrick Howard, Executive Vice President of Travis County’s Strategic Housing Finance Corporation said the purpose of the housing is “helping a person get to a point where they can be more self-sufficient.”
But there’s more to it.
“People can really experience the quality of life that we say we all deserve,” Howard said.