Austin City Council meets Tuesday to discuss future of affordable housing

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Right now, the median home price in Austin is $ 536,000, according to the latest data from the Austin Board of Realtors. On average, the rent is around $ 1,500 per month, and those numbers are expected to continue to rise as the city continues to grow.

On Tuesday, Austin City Council and Mayor Steve Adler will meet to discuss options that could help address the affordable housing challenges facing the city. There are about a dozen items to discuss with the 10 Mayor’s List.

These items include everything from reviewing the land use planning code and changes that could allow the construction of houses and apartments in areas currently zoned “commercial” to considering adding more. accessory housing units or ADUs. These are small houses like a granny apartment, a pool house, cottages that could sit on the same land as a single family house. Currently, there are some restrictions on ADUs that city leaders might seek to remove, such as age restrictions.

Some of the proposals are similar to those from HousingWorks Austin, a non-profit organization that aims to increase the supply of affordable housing. The group is also suggesting that city leaders consider building affordable housing throughout the city, including in western Austin, where prices tend to be higher.

The recommendations presented by HousingWorks Austin are just a few of the solutions that the nonprofit says could help the city meet its Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint goal of 135,000 affordable housing units by 2028.

This graphic from housing advocacy group HousingWorks Austin illustrates the types of neighbors with different income levels in the city of Austin. (Source: HousingWorks Austin)

HousingWorks data shows that since the goal was adopted in 2017, the city has built nearly 26,000 affordable housing units, just over 19% of the plan’s 10-year goal. The city would need to build at least 10,000 or more units each year to stay on track and meet its goal of 135,000.

“We would like to see affordable opportunities for everyone by ensuring that people are first-time buyers, renters, homeless – all have a housing opportunity that matches their needs. needs, affordable, good quality and healthy. housing, ”said Awais Azhar, chairman of the association’s advocacy committee.

This snapshot from housing advocacy group HousingWorks Austin highlights the need for affordable housing. (Source: HousingWorks Austin)

The Austin Board of Real Estate Agents (ABoR) also submitted recommendations to the board to reduce barriers to housing, along with the ABoR ADU recommendations and land use planning code policy.

Place at the table

Housing advocates are not alone in their efforts to work with city leaders to find a solution. The City of Austin College Students Commission, made up of 15 members representing UT Austin, St. Edwards University, Huston-Tillotson University, Concordia University in Texas, and Austin Community College, strives to ensure that students who have rent problems have a seat on the board as well.

The group plans to finalize a list of affordable housing recommendations to pass on to city leaders, giving students a voice in the discussion.

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