Electronic income

Housing program set up to help low-income families in Austin own homes

In response to a years-long pattern of displacement of black, Latino and low-income families from Austin neighborhoods caused by gentrification, city officials will launch a program this month that aims to prioritize requests from these families to buy affordable housing.

The Austin City Council approved the policy in 2018 as part of a recommendation and the work of the city’s Anti-Displacement Task Force that year. The policy prioritizes housing resources for low- and moderate-income households who have long-standing generational ties to Austin and who have been or are at risk of being displaced.

Most of Austin’s longtime residents who have been impacted by relocation and gentrification as the city’s property values ​​continue to rise lived east of Interstate 35.

The nonprofit Austin Housing Finance Corp. will implement the policy by selling city-owned properties known as Austin Community Land Trust homes.

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About 28 homes that will be available under the program are in east, northwest, southwest and southeast Austin. Those homes will go up for sale starting this month and this summer, Chanda Gaither, who oversees the Austin Community Land Trust, told council members at a housing and planning committee meeting the week last.

The only home currently open for applications is on Linden Street in East Austin. Authorities have not announced when other homes will be available.

Austin officials will begin prioritizing low- and moderate-income families with generational ties to the city on affordable housing applications.

Council member Kathie Tovo, who championed the policy in 2018, told the US statesman it was designed to help longtime Austin residents who were born in Austin and whose families have struggling to stay in Austin or have been displaced.

“You lose a lot of that community cohesion when families are moved from Austin,” Tovo said. “Some of them who now live outside of Austin continue to come to Austin for work or school or worship. But we really lose some of that network, that neighborhood fabric, when you have residents long-timers who can no longer afford to live inside these areas.”

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The house on the left, at 1018 Linden Street, is one of the houses the city will sell to low-income families.

Program hosting costs

Home prices available in the program are approximately $195,900 for a two-bedroom home and $246,300 for a four-bedroom home, compared to the median sale price for homes within the Austin city limits. , which recently climbed to $624,000, a jump of 22.4%. from March 2021.

Homes in the program remain affordable because the Austin Community Land Trust separates ownership of the home from the land, Gaither said at the meeting. Homebuyers also agree to sign a 99-year lease, and when they decide to sell their home, it will be sold at an affordable price to the next low-income buyer.

“It creates affordable housing by removing the cost of land from the purchase price of the Austin Community Land Trust home,” Gaither said. “It keeps housing affordable for future buyers by controlling the resale price through a ground lease and resale formula.”

Who is eligible and how the application process works

At the committee meeting last week, Gaither explained who could apply for Austin City Land Trust homes.

Applicants must have an income no greater than 80% of Austin’s median family income. For a one-person household it’s $55,400, for a two-person household it’s $63,300 and for a five-person household it’s $85,450, according to the nonprofit. lucrative.

Households with people with disabilities will receive priority for houses or housing units adapted to the needs of people with disabilities.

Eligible applicants must reside in a census tract identified as affected by gentrification in Austin based on a 2018 University of Texas study. People who had lived in the identified areas since the year 2000 would also be eligible.

Based on the study, these include the Rundberg area in North Austin, Daffin Gin Park in Northeast Austin, Rosewood in East Austin, Montopolis in southeast Austin and Franklin Park in southeast Austin, just beyond Ben White Boulevard and immediately east of I-35.

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Households that have been displaced since 2000 due to natural disaster or government action such as eminent domain, the City of Austin’s Tenant Notice and Relocation Order, or the federal Uniform relocation would also be eligible, Gaither said.

Additionally, if applicants have immediate family members who currently reside in the city, they would qualify under generational ties.

Those who qualify should go online to www.aclt-homes.org to submit an application and all supporting documents.

The application requires residents to show how they qualify for the program. Once they meet the requirements, they will proceed to a lottery selection process based on qualifying scores.

For more information and to apply, go to https://www.aclt-homes.org.

Austin American-Statesman reporter Natalia Contreras can be reached at 512-626-4036 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, @NataliaECG.