Action taken at the Dec. 1 and 8 meetings of the Austin Housing Finance Corp.—the city's nonprofit affordable housing arm overseen by council—forwarded the dedication of hundreds of new and existing housing units in Hyde Park, Hancock and South and East Austin. Council also set up the AHFC to provide for supportive living spaces for residents exiting homelessness.
On Dec. 1, council voted to spend $10.82 million on the acquisition of Soco 121 Apartments at 121 Woodward St. The complex includes 20 one-bedroom and 32 two-bedroom units, and housing staff said the city has eyed the purchase to maintain affordable rental rates at the 37-year-old property in future years.
On Dec. 8, millions more were dedicated to housing purchases in Central Austin's Hyde Park and Hancock neighborhoods. Council approved spending a total of $19.4 million on 10 existing apartment complexes each home to between 10 and 61 units. In total, the action represents a 270-unit expansion of the city's Central Austin affordable housing portfolio.
The move comes through a partnership between the AHFC and Affordable Central Texas and Austin Housing Conservancy that will see several of the Hyde Park properties converted into for-sale condominiums. A portion of those units will be placed into Austin's Community Land Trust program, while the rest will be sold at market rate.
“This is a great example of how we can leverage the resources of the city as well as with our private partners to really create opportunities in areas that are pretty costly to live," District 9 Councilmember Kathie Tovo said as officials authorized the purchases.
The acquisitions were all backed by the city's 2018 housing bond, in addition to $4.72 million in Project Connect anti-displacement funds for Soco 121.
Other December updates include support for multiple new housing developments going up in East and South Austin.
Backed by housing bond funds and the AHFC's budget, council approved sending $14.28 million to support four complexes that will bring a combined 142 income-restricted units to the city. Those include The Lancaster, The Safe Alliance-operated supportive housing development, the east side Live Make apartments, South Austin's Menchaca Townhomes and Soco 121.
Council also signed off on an application for $50 million in bond funding for the 298-unit Sage at Franklin Park and $9 million more for the Live Make project.
The recent AHFC action also saw what Mandy DeMayo, deputy director of the city housing department, called the launch of Austin's housing voucher program for those experiencing homelessness. The vouchers will provide housing in 113 units at three projects—Northwest Austin's Pecan Gardens, Central Austin's Cady Lofts and East Austin's Seabrook Square—and set up the city to continue reserving spaces for hundreds of tenants over the coming years.