Time for Another Vote on Housing?

Council has until Aug. 26 to decide

Nonprofit Green Doors' Glen Oaks Corner housing comunity in Central East Austin
Nonprofit Green Doors' Glen Oaks Corner housing comunity in Central East Austin (by Green Doors Website)

Will a housing bond election in November 2013 have better success than it did in November 2012? Housing proponents are ramping up a campaign to get an affordable housing bond measure on the fall ballot, but City Council members haven’t decided whether to move forward now or wait until next year.

They have until Aug. 26 to call a November election.

Council last week heard a full-court press update on the economic and social benefits of the $55 million already invested in the community as a result of a 2006 bond election, which voters approved overwhelmingly. The funding helped pay for more than 3,400 new or renovated housing units for low-income and homeless individuals, and created over 2,900 jobs, according to a new economic impact report commissioned by local nonprofit Austin HousingWorks.

Voters last year narrowly rejected a request for $78.3 million in bond money to address a shrinking supply of affordable housing. With that election defeat still fresh, some city officials are understandably on the fence about asking voters to approve a housing measure just one year after the electorate said no.

Meantime, Austin isn’t getting any cheaper and federal housing money is drying up. Rebecca Giello, assistant director of the city Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Office, pointed to a substantial leap in monthly rental rates between 2005 and 2011, during which time the median rate jumped from $740 to $905. Giello estimated that current rental rates stand at around $1,000 per month. That’s good news for professionals in the multifamily market but bad news for Austin employees with moderate to low incomes.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Housing
City Plans New Emergency Homeless Shelter, But Without Much Community Input
City Plans New Emergency Homeless Shelter, But Without Much Community Input
A Southeast Austin warehouse will soon become a shelter

Austin Sanders, May 12, 2023

Homelessness Rises in AISD
Homelessness Rises in AISD
More Austin students than ever have no permanent address

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 21, 2015

More by Amy Smith
The Work Matters
The Work Matters
A look back at some of our most impactful reporting

Sept. 3, 2021

Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Housing, City Council, HousingWorks, bond election

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle