Notes & Noticias: Keep Austin Affordable

Dear Friends,

Protecting affordable housing in Austin has been a priority of mine since before I was first elected to the Legislature more than 10 years ago. District 51 is among the areas most threatened by a lack of affordable homes for families.

I’ve seen the changes first hand to our community over the years caused by skyrocketing housing costs and property taxes that have forced many in East Austin out of their homes. That’s why I’m involved with the Keep Austin Affordable campaign to help pass the housing bond package on the ballot this November.

Read on for more about why this effort is so important, and learn about successful efforts to provide affordable housing right here in District 51.

Keep Austin Affordable

Austin residents have the opportunity this November to vote for an affordable housing bond package that will protect affordability for low- and middle-income people in our community.

I urge you to join me in voting for the affordable housing bond package.

These bonds do not raise taxes — they are within the city’s current bonding capacity. The funds will be used to build new houses and apartments as well as repair and renovate existing homes for families whose total income is 50% or less of median family income.

The Keep Austin Affordable campaign is urging Austinites to vote for this bond package, and I am too. Affordability is one of the most pressing issues facing our community, and this bond will help address the problem in a real and tangible way.

I have seen funds from past affordable housing bonds make a difference in District 51. The Sierra Vista was a run-down apartment complex just four years ago. Thanks to the folks at Foundation Communities, a non-profit that builds affordable housing, it’s now a community with 24 apartments for families who were previously homeless, with an additional 10 units for deaf and blind citizens. It also features an after-school tutoring program for 100 children.

This is the good work that public funding for affordable housing can do.

Please vote for the City of Austin affordable housing bond package this November, and if you want to help Keep Austin Affordable, consider volunteering with their campaign.

Spotlight On: Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation

Austin is lucky to have many groups working hard to provide affordable housing for low-income members of our communities.

Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation (GNDC) has been rehabilitating homes for over 30 years, and continues to provide high quality affordable housing for low to moderate income families.

One of their more innovative projects is the Net Zero subdivision, which will ultimately include over 110 units of affordable housing in East Austin that consume no net energy. That’s right — no energy. The units produce and conserve enough energy that they are fully sustainable.

I was thrilled to participate in the ribbon cutting for the first units, along with friends from the City of Austin and Austin Energy. The project is part of an effort to revitalize so-called “brownfields” — abandoned land or former industrial sites — into residential or commercial properties, or green space.

The subdivision will ultimately be home to a mix of single family, townhouse and multi-family units with rental and ownership opportunities for families with low to moderate incomes, and it will serve as a model for how we can achieve our environmental and conservation goals while also providing economic opportunity for all.

Thanks to the GNDC for working hard to protect affordability in East Austin, and making sure that more people of all income levels can find a home.

Join Me Tuesday!

As founder and chair of the Texas House Farm-to-Table caucus, providing increased access to healthy local food is extremely important to me.

That’s why I’m on the board of Urban Roots, a wonderful non-profit that uses sustainable agriculture to transform the lives of young people and increase access to healthy food in Austin.

Please join me for a fundraiser on Tuesday as we celebrate Urban Roots’ 7th year and support their vital work in the community.

Urban Roots Seed to Harvest
Tuesday, October 1 ~ 6:00-8:30pm
Malverde ~ 400 West 2nd Street
Buy Tickets Here


Thanks for reading another edition of Notes and Noticias! I look forward to seeing you in the community soon.