Tag Archives: affordable rental housing

Austin: AAHC Breaks Ground on Two Affordable Housing Projects

Austin: AAHC Breaks Ground on Two Affordable Housing Projects

POBW ELEV RENDER_AustinAustin, Texas is about to get a lot more affordable housing. On Sept. 30, the Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC), a subsidiary of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, and developer LDG Development broke ground on two affordable housing properties, which will provide a total of 443 new multifamily units.

The Pointe at Ben White and the Villages at Ben White will create a neighborhood featuring garden-style apartments. The Villages will target veterans and seniors and will closely coordinate with the nearby Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic.  Family housing will be a priority for The Pointe, with the property coordinating with key social service agencies in the area.

“Austin needs more affordable housing, and we are excited that construction on these two apartment communities is underway,” said Michael Gerber, President and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin.  “Austin seniors, veterans, and families will soon have new affordable housing options.  We look forward to showcasing these properties as a model of what can be achieved when working with an involved, thoughtful community and an experienced developer.”

The properties will be located at 7000 East Ben White Boulevard in South Austin.

Both properties will feature one-, two-, and three-bedroom units with Energy Star appliances; they will also have central air conditioning, ceiling fans and combination hardwood and carpeted flooring. Onsite community amenities include a furnished clubhouse, a business center, an exercise facility, and outdoor facilities including a playground.

Ben White Site Plan (300x205)

“The Pointe at Ben White and the Villages at Ben White are excellent examples of the type of progress cities and smaller communities can make in meeting the housing needs of our nation’s most vulnerable when nonprofit and for profit organizations collaborate together,” said Clifton Martin, CME, chair of NAHRO’s Housing America Campaign. “The Housing America Campaign honors housing authorities and community development agencies like the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC) for educating national decision makers and community leaders; advocating on behalf of lower-income families and individuals, veterans, children and seniors, and persons living with disabilities; and empowering clients and residents to share how accessing affordable, stable housing has impacted their lives.”

For more examples of innovative, forward thinking affordable housing developments like these, visit the Housing America Campaign website.

The True Cost of Not Providing Affordable Housing

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What happens when a family can’t find affordable housing? Sandra J. Newman, director of the John’s Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, recently conducted a study (published in the Journal of Housing Economics) to determine the “impacts of affordable housing on the well-being of children.”  In the study, Newman posits that a family should spend roughly 30 percent of their income on housing–no more, but also no less. This ratio is much more difficult to keep for low-income families. Last year, the International Business Times released a report detailing the expenditures of low-income, average, and wealthy American households. Their report finds that the average income for a low-income family in 2013 was $17,563 and that they spent roughly $10,000 of that income on housing. For every dollar a low-income family spent on housing in 2013, they only spent $0.03 on education.

Lack of affordable housing options for families creates other, less obvious costs. When families are forced to spend more on housing and necessities such as food and transportation, educational expenses – for field trips, books, computers and other learning aids — are no longer affordable. Newman believes that providing such educational opportunities is essential to cognitive development.  Newman’s research showed that when families transitioned to spending 30 percent of their income on housing, they spent $98 more on the enrichment of their children.

But lowering cost burdens isn’t enough. Affordable rental housing also needs be built in safe, decent and healthy neighborhoods. In an interview with John’s Hopkins University, Newman said, “the markedly poorer performance of children in families with extremely low housing cost burdens undercuts the housing policy assumption that a lower housing cost burden is always best. Rather than finding a bargain in a good neighborhood, they’re living in low-quality housing with spillover effects on their children’s development.”

These studies underline the importance of providing decent, safe, affordable rental housing to all, and what is at stake when we fail to do so. The burden placed on low-income families should never be reflected in the development of their children; having a roof over your head should never come at the cost of a child’s education.

By: Gabby Richards, NAHRO Public Affairs Intern