Could philanthropy be the answer to Central Texas affordability issues?

Austin
Downtown Austin skyline April 30, 2020 (KXAN Photo/Kristen Currie)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Philanthropy and affordable housing – a good match? One local group thinks so; it released a new report on how donors can pitch in.

“Now is the time for Austin-area foundations to join together to ensure lower-income families and individuals can continue to contribute to their communities,” reads the report from the Austin Community Foundation.

“Producing, Protecting and Preserving Housing Affordability in Central Texas” said $10.5 to $18 billion in investment is likely needed to build 60,000 homes for low-income families. It won’t be easy; the report notes the Austin-Round Rock metro is the ninth-least affordable region in the country.

“We are at a crisis point,” said Meagan Longley, V.P. of Community Impact at the Austin Community Foundation. “The community is growing at such a rapid pace, and it’s growing with really high-income jobs that we really can’t wait.”

The foundation’s goal, essentially, is to connect the donors with the doers.

Longley said in the past, philanthropists haven’t always been as willing to bite on affordable housing projects or initiatives.

“Foundations weren’t digging in necessarily to the affordable housing space, because it is big,” she said.

The report aims to provide a variety of outside-the-box ways donors can help with the affordability issue.

This includes funding efforts to scoop up affordable housing at apartment complexes up for sale. It may include home repair and rehab for low-income families. Philanthropic funding could also support assistance for renters up against eviction.

The Austin Community Foundation said conversations are happening daily to bring philanthropies to the table.

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