Austin/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on May 28, 2024
East Austin Groups Demand City Council Action for Affordable Housing Amid Gentrification FearsSource: Google Street View

In a push against the rising tide of gentrification threatening their neighborhoods, East Austin's community organizations are rallying the City Council to mandate affordable housing conditions on new developments, as reported by the Austin Monitor. The advocacy group, Community Powered ATX, is leading the charge for an equity/anti-displacement overlay in the Eastern Crescent that has faced heavy displacement due to escalating living costs.

Despite the City Council's recent HOME 2 policy changes aimed at increasing housing density, activists express concern that the true beneficiaries will be developers and real estate speculators instead of the existing, financially vulnerable residents, allowing them to construct three times as many homes on a single lot which had previously catered to one, while the threat of increasing property taxes and the proliferation of luxury housing developments are causing displacement among homeowners and renters, this is according to Alexia Leclercq, an organizer with Community Powered ATX. Leclercq emphasized the need for an overlay that would regulate affordability based on median family income, as validated by academic findings like the 2018 Uprooted report.

The Austin Monitor indicates that recent ordinance amendments have contemplated the application of such an overlay, and Community Powered ATX is endorsing a Council resolution for gap financing, aiding residents to build accessory dwelling units on their property for additional income. Coalition members look forward to discussing prospective solutions with Council members Vanessa Fuentes, José Velásquez, and Chito Vela in their upcoming June meeting.

Monica Guzmán, policy director for Go Austin/Vamos Austin, pointed out the absence of strict affordability requirements in recent housing policies risks transforming the city irreversibly, driving out long-established residents who are predominantly of color and replacing them with a whiter demographic while expanding the presence of short-term rentals and property investment entities, "Maybe five years, more than likely 10, but at some point down the road, we're going to see more and more predominantly white homeowners and property owners," she told the Austin Monitor, noting that gentrification is expected to reshape the community's ethnic makeup over time.

Austin-Real Estate & Development