Affordability the focus of December's Engage Breakfast

For the last Engage Breakfast of 2013, the morning discussion will feature the struggles of keeping Austin an affordable place to live in the face of significant interest and growth.

Julie Smith, Leadership Programs Manager with Leadership Austin, said when the advisory council for the Engage Breakfast was discussing important issues to the region, housing and affordability were reoccurring topics.

"We realized this isn't just a conversation about housing, anymore," Smith said. "As Austin becomes bigger and bigger and more popular, all of the different costs of living are increasing."

Smith said during a presentation to one of Leadership Austin's classes, City of Austin Demographer Ryan Robinson pointed out that there is a growing divide between what the average family in Austin can afford and median-priced homes in the area.

Panelists for the discussion include member of the Land Development Code Advisory Group Chris Bradford, HousingWorks Austin President Francie Ferguson and Principal at Civic Analytics Brian Kelsey. Robert Hadlock, KXAN News Anchor will act as moderator.

"The question we want to answer in this Engage Breakfast is how do we make sure that personal development and wages are keeping up with the cost of living," Smith said.

Smith said the panel will look into the gap between wages and cost of living; how to grow wages to meet those higher costs; and ways to lower those increasing costs.

The Engage Breakfast is at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 18 in the Kodosky Lounge of The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive. Tickets are $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.leadershipaustin.org/programs/engage/upcoming.



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