Austin housing plan proposes big changes to tackle affordability

The city of Austin recently released a draft of its first strategic housing plan that urges corporate incentives — something Austin hasn’t handed out in more than two years.

The plan, which you can read embedded below this story, projects the population will grow at an average rate of 3 percent per year, and estimates that 200,000 new housing units will be needed over the next 30 years to meet demand. Further, the plan noted that Austin has a shortage of housing affordable for households making less than $35,000 per year, forcing people to stretch their dollars to live in more expensive and more readily available housing tiers.

Broadly speaking, the plan seeks to prevent households, especially at the low-income end, from being priced out of Austin. It highlights dozens of potential strategies to preserve or create affordable housing options, including shared equity and community land trust ownership models or developing a catalog of “pre-approved” affordable housing types that would receive expedited approval from city regulators.

The draft report also calls for the city to explore the use of incentives to support the creation of jobs for low-income residents and to ensure that new development covers the cost of growth.

“Incentives should be focused on improving the economic conditions of current lower income unemployed or underemployed residents to spur opportunities that enable them to better afford to live in Austin,” the report says.

And, contrary to City Council action taken earlier this year on small lot amnesty, it also calls for the city to make it easier to develop smaller homes on smaller lots.

The full report, 26 pages long, is embedded below. Just click on the image to download the full report.

Austin may incentivize lower paying jobs to ease affordability crisis Austin Business Journal

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Austin Business Journal

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