Several new homeless housing projects to pop up in Austin

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Waterloo Terrace apartments are new — and in high demand.

More than 1,300 people have applied for 132 apartments at the property, according to housing provider Foundation Communities.

“There are three different rent levels, and at the lowest rent level, those are gone already,” said Walter Moreau, the agency’s executive director.

The property, located on MoPac and Parmer, is one of seven properties Foundation Communities offers for formerly homeless people. An eighth property, Zilker Studios, is being built right now on South Lamar Boulevard.

Moreau says some of Foundation Communities’ properties have few barriers for applicants, and some have none at all. He says the nonprofit recently made its criteria to house single adults with criminal histories more flexible.

“If somebody that’s on the street now is fortunate enough to get a voucher but they have a criminal background, that’s probably not going to keep them from our housing,” Moreau said.

But Chris Baker of the Other Ones Foundation says one’s criminal background is a barrier at other affordable units in the Austin area. He says some people seeking housing may even have a previous penalty for public camping — something voters will decide whether to re-criminalize in May.

“Chronic homelessness is not going to be solved by affordable housing, it’s just not,” Baker said on a zoom call Friday. “It’s going to be solved by public housing that is seen as a human right, as opposed to a commodity.”

Meanwhile, nonprofits and city partnerships are popping up. Under Caritas of Austin, Espero at Rutland is planned for construction in North Austin. It would house 170 formerly homeless people and be open by the Fall of next year.

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