Cheaper housing could come to Austin in next 10 years

Bluebonnet Studios along South Lamar Blvd. will offer 107 units of affordable housing. (Julie Karam/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Affordable housing is hard to find in Austin. But Thursday night the city will present its first ever housing plan that outlines dozens of strategies that could lead to more affordable homes and apartments within the next 10 years.

Over the past several months the city held nearly two dozen meetings asking the public what they want in housing; they even asked a 4th-grade class. The goal is to prevent Austinites from being priced out of their homes. The Austin Strategic Housing Plan has 30 strategies with the goal of creating 75,000 new homes over 10 years. Thirty-five thousand of those being affordable for families of four earning about $62,000 per year.

Bluebonnet Studios along South Lamar Blvd. will offer 107 units of affordable housing. (Julie Karam/KXAN)
Bluebonnet Studios along South Lamar Blvd. will offer 107 units of affordable housing. (Julie Karam/KXAN)

The plan also recommends each zip code have at least 10-percent rental housing units that are affordable for a family making less than $24,000 per year. The goal is to build units near public transit since planners say your daily commute is typically a household’s second highest expense.

“Folks can get to their daily needs, they can get to work, they can get to services, they can get to educational opportunities, really that location makes a difference. Housing that’s further out may seem affordable but when you start factoring in transportation costs it can actually be more expensive,” says Jonathan Tomko, Sr. Planner, Neighborhood Housing and Community Development.

Right now, Foundation Communities is building 107 units of affordable housing on South Lamar Boulevard. The apartments will be available for those making about $27,000 per year. City planners say this is a perfect example of the type of apartments needed since it’s close to a bus line, and someone can bike, or walk to everything from grocery stores to work.

City planners will gather feedback on the Austin Housing Plan during two meetings on July 21 at the Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road; and Aug. 10 at the Austin Community College South Austin Campus, 1820 W. Stassney Lane. Both will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Input is already being taken by email and online. Deadline for feedback is Aug. 10.

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