There is an urgent need for affordable housing throughout Central Texas, and the demand far exceeds the supply. Austin Community Foundation is investing in permanent affordable housing solutions for the future through the launch of its new Housing Accelerator program.

One of the factors contributing to the lack of affordable housing options for Central Texans is housing developers’ lack of access to the quick, low-cost financing necessary to acquire land and build a range of housing options.

CEO Mike Nellis said by talking to both nonprofit and for-profit developers in the affordable housing industry, ACF received feedback that there was a missing piece of community lending infrastructure.

“We envision a region where everybody has an opportunity to live in a safe and affordable home,” Nellis said. “The goal of putting this together was really to build a permanent piece of community infrastructure that was missing. The idea is that this fund will [still] be around in five, 10, 20 years. This capital will continue to recycle over and over and over again so developers can continue to access it in order to get their projects done.”

The Housing Accelerator program will act as a permanent affordable housing solution by providing fast, flexible capital that leverages public and private dollars to increase the pace of affordable housing production. Designed to recycle capital and have a long-term impact, the loan fund has the potential to leverage $280 million toward the construction of 850 units in the first five years of operation.

The fund is designed to help both nonprofit developers and private developers working in the affordable housing industry.

“We know that all kinds of people need all kinds of housing in all kinds of places throughout this region,” Nellis said. “The purpose of the loan fund is to ensure developers have an opportunity to develop all throughout the region. One of the barriers to entry certainly is the cost of land acquisition.”

Because developers can access necessary capital quickly, they can get valuable land under control for affordable housing projects. Nellis said a great example of this is ACF’s recent $2.8 million investment in Cady Lofts, a permanent supportive housing development in Central Austin.

“[Cady Lofts] is permanent supportive housing in a really, really important location,” Nellis said. “It's all on transit lines, in the urban core, and [if not] for the Housing Accelerator loan, that land likely would have been lost to private development. And so we're going to have 100 plus units of permanent supportive housing in our community because of it.”

The loan works in tandem with public money such as bond capital and other funding sources and will act as a key to unlock the extra capital affordable housing developers need.

Want to help support ACF’s mission? Corporations, foundations, and individuals can easily collaborate with the organization and support a variety of types of affordable housing in the region by donating to the fund. Nellis said because the fund is able to recycle capital, donors can come into the fund one time and make a huge impact, as their investment will be leveraged over and over again.

“There are lots of ways to enter the space, and it's going to take all of us to create solutions and solve for the affordable housing challenges in our region,” Nellis said. “It's not just one sector’s job to solve for this, and it's going to take all of us to come together to solve the affordability challenge.”

Learn more about ACF’s Housing Accelerator fund here. For more information about Austin Community Foundation, visit

The above story was produced by Senior Multi Platform Journalist Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.