More than 2K units for homeless housing in Austin will be developed by 2024, city says

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler and other area leaders Tuesday discussed the city’s permanent supportive housing plans in front of one of Austin’s complexes aimed to keep people off the streets.

Done in front of the Terrace at Oak Springs, a 50-unit apartment complex run by Integral Care in east Austin, proponents for more housing to help people experiencing homelessness spoke about what the city is currently doing, and how the city wants to address homelessness in the future.

Adler said part of the homelessness issue in Austin is due in part because the city wasn’t creating enough housing for people experiencing homelessness “six or seven years ago.”

“That’s changed,” Adler said. “The entire community has gotten together.”

A look at the number of living units serving people experiencing homelessness in Austin. (Chart courtesy of the city of Austin)

The city plans to have almost 2,200 units available for supportive housing by 2024, data the city provided during the conference shows.

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar said at the beginning of the 10-1 city council structure in 2012, the council authorized 35 homes for people experiencing homelessness. He said that’s why Austin has the problem it has today, but in the last two years, he said the city has done something “powerful and inspirational.”

The cumulative number of living units serving people experiencing homelessness in Austin. (Chart courtesy of the city of Austin)

“In the last two years, our city has voted to put 775 homes on the ground to pull people off the streets,” he said. “It will help far more than 775 families. Those are permanent, and here to stay.”

At the county level, Travis County Commissioners used about half of its American Rescue Plan Act allotment to put toward supportive housing totaling $110 million. The plan will go toward construction on multiple tiny homes and apartments — as part of a community effort to house 3,000 people in the next three years.

Travis County Judge Andy Brown called the investments in supportive housing “historic.”

“Housing, obviously right now, I’d say is the largest challenge in our community,” Brown said. “The average monthly rent is hitting $1,500 a month, houses are being sold at extremely high numbers and minimum wage is staying the same.”

Council member Natasha Harper-Madison said more work needs to be done to create additional permanent supportive housing like the Terrace at Oak Springs to keep up with demand and a skyrocketing cost to live in Austin.

“People that are already holding on by a thread they are being pushed to the street,” she said. “As I’ve said before the answer is housing, housing, housing. Period.”

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