Letter to City Council Supporting Resolution No. 20190221-027

Dear Mayor and Council Members,

The Austin Housing Coalition (formerly the CHDO Roundtable) has represented the community of “housers” across Austin and Central Texas since its founding in 2003. We are nonprofit housing developers, housing and policy experts, and other interested organizations, businesses, and residents who support the development of safe, affordable housing for Austin residents. Our members work to house people
experiencing homelessness, repair the houses of low-income homeowners, provide
quality affordable rental housing, and empower low-income households to become
successful, first-time homebuyers.

We want to express our support for Resolution No. 20190221-027, sponsored by
Council Member Gregorio Casar, Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, and Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria.

We are excited that this resolution has already gained widespread support and is
poised to help address some of Austin’s affordability issues. The Austin Housing
Coalition supports the resolution because at a broad level:

  • It will allow us to better leverage funding from the 2018 Affordable Housing
    Bond to create more income-restricted affordable housing units.
  • It will help achieve the community value of creating new and affordable housing
    choices throughout Austin highlighted in the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint.
  • It will create mixed-income affordable housing throughout the city and help
    achieve our housing dispersion goals. More specifically, The Austin Housing Coalition supports a variety of important provisions included within the resolution, including:

    • Creating flexible parking standards that will allow housing providers to provide
      parking best-suited for the type of development, population served, and
      location of the project.
    • Increasing height standards that will give housing providers the opportunity to
      create greater and better-quality affordable housing units while fitting in with
      the surrounding neighborhood context.
    • Allowing flexibility regarding compatibility standards that will provide
      opportunities to better leverage our City’s affordable housing investments.
    • Requiring at least 50% of the units to be affordable that will increase the
      viability of building affordable housing and mixed-income units.

We are thankful to the sponsors for allowing us to review earlier drafts of the resolution and for including our recommendations. The Austin Housing Coalition is supporting this resolution because it can play a key role in achieving the affordable housing targets highlighted in the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint and in supporting the efforts of our affordable housing providers.