Given Austin’s growth, what does the future of affordable housing hold?

With Austin being the second fastest growing city in the country, housing advocates are pushing for more affordable housing.

AUSTIN, Texas – A recent study by the University of North Carolina ranks Austin as the second fastest growing city in the country.

But proponents of cities and housing are trying to keep up with that growth while building more affordable housing to keep people here.

For Awais Azhar with Housing Works Austinhe said the way the city is growing is key.

“It’s really important to ensure that we manage this growth in a way that we continue to serve our residents who live here and move here so that they all have affordable housing options,” Azhar said.

Its organization released new data looking at the cost of livingHomelessness and the Transit State in Austin as the City Grows.

Joao Paulo Connolly with the Austin Justice Coalition said the city’s growing pains aren’t new.

“Blacks and browns have been moved to different parts of the city and have been forcibly relocated many times,” Connolly said. “Your school teacher, your nanny, the lifeguard at the pool, the staff that works at the park, you benefit from that,” he said, speaking about who will be affected by the rate hike.

To qualify for affordable housing in Austin, residents typically must earn less than 80% of the city’s median income. For a four-person household That median income is just under $100,000.

“In other projects before that, the affordability component was just left out entirely,” said Stacy Rhone, CEO of BiGAUSTIN.

BiGAUSTIN is a non-profit organization focused on community development.

A multi-resource development is being built through a $65 million investment by her team and Bank of America’s Community Development Arm. The plan for Rhone and her team is to build more than 400 housing units in Northeast Austin, more than 50% of which will be affordable housing.

In addition, a resource center is planned for the development so tenants can get help if they need it.

“There’s a lot more to it than just housing to help these individuals start businesses and become stronger businesses,” Rhone said.

Azhar said projects like this are something Austin residents could vote for, like the $350 million affordable housing bond in November’s election.

“What we’ve been able to do with this in the past is that we’ve created 6,000 affordable units from our bonds, both for ownership and for rent,” Azhar said.

As Austin continues to grow, advocates hope justice remains at the forefront.

For more information and Resources from HousingWorks Austin, click here.

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