FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Selena Saucedo Booth
AUSTIN AFFORDABLE HOUSING BILL PASSES SENATE
Homestead Preservation Districts Legislation Passes to Preserve Affordable Housing
AUSTIN, Texas – May 23, 2013 – House Bill 3350, the Homestead Preservation District (HPD) legislation authored by Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) and sponsored by Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin), passed the Senate. This bill will help Austin preserve existing affordable housing opportunities for homeowners and enhance the viability of homeownership for low- and moderate-income residents in East Austin and neighborhoods experiencing economic pressures.
“Austin is facing an affordable housing crisis. Homeowners are getting taxed out of their homes and renters are finding it more difficult to afford the rent,” Rep. Rodriguez said. “This bill will allow the Homestead Preservation District to be an immediate tool to address Austin’s affordable housing needs.”
In April, the City of Austin passed Resolution No. 20130411-033 in support of HB 3350.
“Local government needs tools to meet the priorities of its citizens. In Austin, there are few priorities more important than affordable housing,” Sen. Watson said. “This bill provides a new way to address this challenge.”
In 2005, Rep. Rodriguez passed HB 525 that created HPDs to help cities preserve existing affordable housing opportunities for homeowners. Under current law, the City Council is able to adopt a HPD in a low-income neighborhood adjoining downtown. Once a district is adopted, the City and County can create a Homestead Preservation Reinvestment Zone in the district. The reinvestment zone is a form of tax increment financing (TIF) that allows a portion of the increased City and County tax revenue from rising property values to be reinvested in the zone to preserve affordable housing opportunities.
HB 3350 will expand the low-income neighborhoods in the City eligible for a HPD beyond neighborhoods adjoining a central business district. This bill will eliminate the requirement that the County participate in the Homestead Preservation Reinvestment Zone in addition to the City. With this new legislation, the City can participate with city property tax revenue even if the County chooses not to do so.