AUSTIN (KXAN) — As affordable housing problems continue to plague Austin, some families who may have been sleeping on the streets, in shelters or struggling to make ends meet will now have a roof over their heads.
Foundations Communities, a non-profit providing affordable homes to low-income and homeless families officially opened its newest project Wednesday. A project that’s been four years in the making.
“To finally reach this point and have families moved in is emotionally just a really great feeling,” said Walter Moreau, Executive Director of Foundation Communities.
The Lakeline Station Apartments in northwest Austin has 128 units, all of which are fully leased with a growing wait list. It will become home to 13 formerly homeless families, nearly a dozen immigrant and refugee families and more than 80 children.
Rent prices range from $380-$1,120 depending on income — that’s anywhere from $200-$400 less per month than the normal rental market.
“This is huge,” said Jacquelyn Dozier, an Austin social worker on the tour Wednesday. “We are so grateful than an organization like Foundation Communities exists because I’ve been a social worker for 20 years in Austin and over that time I have seen the homeless population explode.”
Keith Murphy considers himself one of the lucky ones, he was the first resident to get keys to his new home.
“Without this, it would be just living life the same, living in contempt, just living life as it is,” Murphy said.
Murphy says his childhood was filled with Child Protective Services visits and abusive adoptive parents. Then going in and out of work, he and his wife were forced to move in with her mom, crammed into one bedroom with three kids.
That is, until they found a case worker with Foundation Communities. Murphy now has more than a home for his family, they have a community.
“My kids were the first to play on the playground so they got to witness everything,” Murphy said laughing.
Lakeline Station was built with efficiency in mind, particularly its on-site Community Learning Center. The Learning Center will be the first “net zero” commercial building in Austin, ultimately producing more energy than it consumes. The space will offer after-school and summer learning programs and “English as a second language” classes are offered for children and adults. They also provide financial coaching and help with health insurance enrollment.
In addition, residents will have access to nearby public transportation and job opportunities.
Funding for the $27.2 million community came from federal, state and city sources, including the 2013 City of Austin affordable housing bonds, and private foundations.
Other organizations and groups are trying to help the work Foundation Communities is doing. The Weird Homes of Austin tour that takes place Saturday, April 22 is donating 10 percent of ticket sales to Foundation Communities. There are 10 weird homes on the tour this year.