THE FULL STORY
HousingWorks Austin is a nonprofit driven to create “All Kinds of Homes in All Parts of Town for All Kinds of People.” They have a robust approach that includes housing and demographic insights for the ten districts and five counties. Their annual scorecard tracks Austin’s progress towards meeting Strategic Housing Blueprint goals of construction of 60,000 housing units affordable to households at or below 80% median family income (MFI) and another 75,000 units for households earning greater than 80% MFI with specific goals for households at different income levels.
Annual insights will also be used to assess where and why efforts may have stagnated.
Additionally, research tracks the volume of new housing developments near Imagine Austin Centers and Corridors and High Opportunity Areas and progress towards preserving existing affordable housing and developing permanent supportive units to prevent homelessness.
Their analysis also provides context to who needs affordable housing by calculating wage ranges, the number of households that fall in that range, and providing sample occupations. Audience profiles from the 2023 “Who Needs Housing That is Affordable?” document show that moderate-income professions (nursing, firefighters, etc.) are shifting to a lower-income category as housing options grow more costly.
Elected municipal leaders and key individuals addressing the housing crisis receive copies of the insights annually. They find value in better understanding the issues faced by their constituency so they can set policy direction for their precincts and counties.
While research has been a critical arm of the organization, its educational resources help inform community needs, neighborhood planning strategies, real estate options, and financing options. They host an annual summit, maintain an Affordable Housing Search Tool, and facilitate in-person and virtual bus tours. The tours showcase completed projects and have a light curriculum that both illustrate a realized vision for affordable housing units and provide a shared knowledge base for local government, developers, and investors.
HousingWorks Austin has also used the advocacy of their coalition to develop proposed amendments for changes to the Land Development Code and has secured a significant amount of Housing Bonds since 2013. The value of those bonds has increased over time, $350M of which were awarded in 2022 alone. The nonprofit then tracks the distribution of dollars throughout the community on a public map. To date, the bonds built and rehabilitated 4,370 homes, creating $1.08 billion in economic impact from the construction.
To further stimulate the local economy, Austin will participate in a new program to provide small-scale real estate developers from underrepresented communities in Austin with the tools they need to contribute to affordable housing options and benefit from the region’s booming real estate market.
HousingWorks Austin is a noteworthy example of how the Tampa Bay Partnership’s research and advocacy model can be applied to a specific focus area to accelerate progress and uplift all residents in a community.