A new piece of Travis County’s supportive housing network is being put in place as the Travis County Commissioners Court approved a $7.27 million contract with the SAFE Alliance on April 2 for an affordable complex in East Austin.

The new complex, called The Lancaster, will provide 60 affordable housing units to people experiencing homelessness as well as victims of domestic and sexual abuse. The project will break ground in early May and is expected to be completed by early 2026, according to county documents.

The details

Half of the units at The Lancaster will be reserved for residents earning 30% or less of the area median income, which is about $24,550 annually for one person. The remaining half will be designated for those earning 50% or below the area median income, or a $40,900 annual income for an individual, according to county documents.

Residents will have access to wraparound services, including:
  • Trauma-informed case management
  • Peer support services
  • Benefits and education counseling

The backstory

Funding for The Lancaster comes from the county’s allotment of $110 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds issued in September 2021 to provide affordable housing and other initiatives to end homelessness.

The Lancaster marks the 11th project the county has provided funding for with those ARPA dollars. The county hopes to add a total of 2,000 new affordable units to the county once all the money has been spent.

The SAFE Alliance also received $7.15 million from the city of Austin and $4.72 million from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the project.

What they’re saying

“What we have realized over and over again is that housing is a form of violence prevention. If you don’t have a safe home to go to, it forces you back into unstable and potentially dangerous housing,” SAFE Alliance CEO Julia Spann said. “We’re thrilled with this location because of the access to transportation; to food services; to jobs; to medical services; to good schools; and also to our own campuses, which are very close by and can provide additional services to folks should the need arise.”

What’s next

The SAFE Alliance has five housing projects it hopes to secure county funding for by the end of the year.

“I cannot wait to put the shovel in the ground and then help the residents move in,” Travis County Commissioner Ann Howard said.