What Austin neighborhoods will see a rise in affordable homes?

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Council is now setting out to meet some very specific goals to try to help solve the ctiy’s affordability crisis.

According to a resolution approved on June 6, the city will aim to produce a total of 135,000 new housing units, including at least 60,000 new income restricted units by 2027. 

The plan divides the 60,000 units into 10 different City Council districts.

The geographic goals look like this:

  • District 1: 7,086 affordable untis
  • District 2: 4,492 affordable untis
  • District 3: 6,295 affordable untis
  • District 4: 3,105 affordable units
  • District 5: 4,473 affordable units
  • District 6: 8,590 affordable units
  • District 7: 6,651 affordable units
  • District 8: 7,217 affordable units
  • District 9: 3,635 affordable units
  • District 10: 8,456 affordable units
  • Total: 60,000 affordable units

Right now, according to the City of Austin’s map of affordable housing properties, they’re concentrated near the University of Texas Austin’s campus and in east Austin. 

Under the goals outlined by the resolution, City Council Districts 6 and 10, north and northwest Austin, are likely to see the highest number of new affordable units. 

“The reason why District 6 and District 10 ended up with some of the largest numbers is because we have the most land,” said Austin Council Member Jimmy Flannigan who represents District 6. “I don’t think that should be the primary metric that determines where we put affordable housing. Access to transportation, I think, might be one of the most critical factors.”

Foundation Communities’ Lakeline Station Apartments is in Flannigan’s district. 

“Construction got done at the end of 2017,” said Kyle Russell who’s the property manager.

He said the property’s wait list is constantly full. “We’ve only got one apartment available right now. It’s actually set aside for a specific program, so it’s not even vacant necessarily. There’s already a person lined up for that,” Russell explained. He then added, that shows the need for affordable housing is everywhere, especially for families with young kids.

“It’s constant and all over the map really,” Russell said. “It surprises me how many families are interested in what school district do you guys belong to.”

Unlike the neighborhoods up north, the goals for Districts 4 and 9 are low. 

“My district is fairly well built out. We don’t have lots of vacant land,” said City Council Member Kathie Tovo. She represents District 9. 

She said that’s why rewriting the city’s land use code will play a key role.

Tovo said when builders redevelop existing properties, “I am a strong supporter of making sure that zoning changes are accompanied by requirements that some of that housing be affordable. We have to use all the tools in our toolbox.”

The City Council also approved goals based on where the 2016 bond money is going for transportation improvements

They want nearly 4,000 new affordable units on William Cannon Drive and Slaughter Lane. 

But Flannigan said all of these numbers could change. He expects the council will receive regular updates over the next eight years and update the goals if necessary.

“It is a tapestry of solutions that are going to get us to our housing affordability goals,” he said.

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