Push for affordable, healthy housing in Austin

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

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Affordable housing is lacking in the city of Austin as 100 people on average move to the area every day.

That’s according to a comprehensive housing market analysis sponsored by the City of Austin in 2014 that identified a shortage of affordable rental units. The study suggested that approximately 48,000 more units were needed for those making less than $25,000 a year.

Because of this need hundreds will gather on Thursday for the first ever Housing and Health Summit sponsored by non-profit Housing Works Austin, a group that advocates for affordable housing within the city. The idea is to bring people together from across the country who deal with affordable housing, those who finance these projects, and the health sector to discuss what more can be done.

The idea of healthy housing is more than encouraging residents to exercise and eat right. The goal is to make sure structures are sound, they don’t have pests like roaches inside, there’s no lead based paint or mold that often leads to asthma, and housing is accessible for people with disabilities to prevent injuries.

“Affordable housing is really more than just a roof over your head it is providing housing and services so the residents can thrive,” said Mandy DeMayo, Executive Director of Housing Works Austin.

And by getting those that finance these projects to understand the needs that might lead to more well-rounded affordable housing communities according to DeMayo.

The event is at the JW Marriott starting at 7 a.m.

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