City of Austin seeks to build affordable housing in east Austin

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) solicitation to develop income-restricted affordable housing on eight acres of land at 3811 Tannehill Lane in the East MLK neighborhood of Austin.

For Eric Byrd and his family, roots run deep in that east Austin neighborhood.

“This is actually the elementary school I went to as a child. I grew up not too far from here,” Byrd explained. “Prior to that my grandparents owned a home just down the street, and prior to that my grandfather’s parents were sharecroppers in this area.”

As the years passed, property rates went up and so did new homes. Homes in an area that were once worth less than $200,000 are now worth more than $650,000.

“My family had to leave the area because of affordability,” Byrd said. “We only have a couple of family members who live within the city limits. The rest moved outside where it’s more affordable.”

The AHFC plans change that by turning part of the area into an affordable housing development.

“In this particular neighborhood, we’ve seen a significant amount of gentrification and displacement. We’d like to stem the tide or work to help stem the tide of gentrification and displacement, certainly in central east Austin,” said Mandy De Mayo with the City of Austin’s Housing and Planning Department. “This particular site is right next to Norman-Sims Elementary School that has seen a decline in enrollment over recent years. We’d like to ensure opportunities to bring families back and stabilize neighborhoods, bring families back into that neighborhood.”

They hope to enter a development agreement by the fall.

“Ideally we would have something under construction within a year of that time frame, and we would anticipate a construction period of about 18 months,” De Mayo said.

Priority will be given to proposals that:

  • Maximize the number of affordable units
  • Maximize the number of affordable multi-bedroom units for families
  • Provide deeply affordable units for Austin’s lowest-income households
  • Provide affordable ownership units to help low-income households build wealth
  • Prioritize affordable housing for low-income households previously displaced or at-risk of being displaced from the area
  • Minimize City of Austin subsidy per affordable unit

The Request for Proposals and supporting documentation are available on the RFP Website. The deadline is July 22, 2021.

Byrd wants to ensure the developer has a history of caring for its tenants and communities and not a track record of complaints and violations.

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