As of summer 2024 Austin still has a serious affordable housing problem. Rents and Mortgage Costs are outpacing the middle and poor income earners ability to find and keep affordable housing solutions. Keeping a roof over ones head is becoming more and more difficult in Austin. So I wanted to look into what is being done about it.

And these programs and “solutions” all present a picture that the issue is being addressed, that something is being done. But a lot of it as I see it is just more of the same. Talk about it and then really just do nothing.

When I tried to find Current up-to-date information I was pointed to articles like this one: which is from 2016!

I found some information on Austin Housing Finance Online showing the money in different categories:

Trying to decipher how any of the rules of available programs leads to just more text text text.

More talk talk from 2020:

Can anyone show me photos of available “Affordable Housing”? Links where people can apply for help without having to go through the whole social services process that strips one of all dignity and requires a person to be destitute to apply?

Here are some specific programs and initiatives in Austin that are addressing the affordable housing crisis and homelessness:

Affordable Housing Trust Fund: The City of Austin established the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to provide financial support for the development of affordable housing units. This fund supports various affordable housing projects, including the construction of new units and the preservation of existing affordable housing stock. Developers can apply for funding through the Trust Fund to help offset the costs of building affordable housing.

Housing First Approach: Austin has embraced a Housing First approach, which prioritizes providing stable housing to individuals experiencing homelessness without preconditions such as sobriety or participation in treatment programs. The Housing First model recognizes that stable housing is a fundamental need and provides a platform for individuals to address other challenges, such as mental health or substance abuse issues, with the support of case management services.

The City of Austin’s HOST program: consists of outreach workers who engage with individuals experiencing homelessness on the streets and connect them to housing, healthcare, and social services. The program takes a proactive approach to outreach, building relationships with individuals experiencing homelessness and connecting them to resources that can help them stabilize their lives.Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH): Permanent Supportive Housing is a housing intervention that combines affordable housing with supportive services, such as case management, mental health treatment, and substance abuse counseling. PSH is designed to serve individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness and have complex needs that require ongoing support to maintain housing stability. In Austin, PSH programs aim to provide long-term housing solutions for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

Community Land Trusts: Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organizations that acquire and hold land for the purpose of developing affordable housing. In Austin, CLTs work to create permanently affordable housing by removing land from the speculative market and maintaining long-term affordability through mechanisms such as ground leases. CLTs can help ensure that housing remains affordable for low- and moderate-income residents in perpetuity.

Affordable Housing Bond Programs: The City of Austin has issued bonds to finance affordable housing projects and programs. These bond funds are used to support the construction of new affordable housing units, provide down payment assistance for low- and moderate-income home buyers, and fund home repair programs for homeowners in need of assistance. Affordable housing bond programs play a crucial role in leveraging public resources to address the affordable housing crisis.

These programs and initiatives represent a multifaceted approach to addressing the affordable housing crisis and homelessness in Austin. By combining efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing with supportive services and outreach programs, Austin is working to create a more equitable and inclusive community where all residents have access to safe and stable housing. Um okay or so they say.

Programs programs… but action?

If any real progress was being made one would expect it to be front and center on the local nightly news. In more than a year I have seen no coverage of how the city is helping get the homeless off the streets and families into homes sans one channels coverage of a “Habitat for Humanity” home being built for a middle age woman and her son.

I was unable to find any actual reports about what is being done and not just talked about. It’s always the same with programs. They exist but how do you access them. Are they actually funded. And how much is actually being spent.

It;s 2024 and it’s worse than 2023 and 2022 and 2021 and. you can expect 2025 to be no better.