Travis County Commissioners unanimously pass plan to invest $110M in supportive housing

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday, Travis County Commissioners unanimously approved a proposal to use $110 million in federal relief funds to build housing for people experiencing homelessness.

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.

Some of that could funnel money into projects like Burleson Village, a community for 700 people in southeast Austin. Mobile Loaves and Fishes and Foundation Communities will work together on that project to build 600 tiny homes and a 100 unit apartment complex.

The Other Ones Foundation group is asking for money to add 200 new tiny homes at the state-established site Camp Esperanza.

In all, nine non-profits asked for millions of dollars in one-time funding to build affordable housing and units to house the homeless.

The money will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Travis County Commissioners and other stakeholders discuss a $110 million plan to help build housing for people experiencing homelessness Tuesday (KXAN/Jacqulyn Powell)

Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who helped sponsor the plan, says more needs to be done to help people get off the streets.

“The problem is we have a shortage of homes, affordable homes in Austin and Travis county and it is something we need to address,” Gomez said.

In addition to working on Burleson Village, Foundation Communities also plans to build an apartment complex for low-income families and families experiencing homelessness in North Austin.

Foundation Communities already built the Laurel Creek apartment complex next door with resources families living in the community will need, like a food pantry, a nursing station, a pre-school and a learning center that will provide after school care and tutoring for kids. It is set to open in November.

The non-profit also owns a plot of land next door, however it did not have the money to build an apartment complex there.

Foundation Communities is requesting $6.5 million from Travis County to build the complex, which will share Laurel Creek’s facilities. The non-profit currently operates 25 similar facilities that serve people in a variety of situations.

“It takes time to get affordable housing built,” said Foundation Communities Executive Director Walter Montreau. “It may take two or even three years, but ultimately, this is the solution for folks that are on the street. We’ve got to provide the basic place for people to live and the services that lift people up.”

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