Housing Authority of the City of Austin Bridging the Affordable Housing Gap with Workforce Housing

Date Published: 
April 23rd, 2019

In REBusinessOnline.com’s article “Austin Multifamily Market’s New Focus: Workforce Housing,” Kevin Bowen, senior vice president of Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital, discusses the Austin City Council’s work to implement its Strategic Housing Blueprint, which includes efforts to increase the development of workforce housing in Austin, TX.  As part of the plan, community leaders, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA), Bellwether Enterprise, and other mission-driven investors are working on a number of projects to provide more housing for individuals and families who do not qualify for traditional affordable housing, but who also cannot afford market-rate apartments.

For these households stuck in the middle, HACA and several partners have been acquiring properties and setting aside a large portion of the units for households earning at or below 80 percent AMI. For example, HACA and partners joined in 2018 to purchase the Preserve at Wells Branch, an apartment community close to jobs, schools, and transportation links, and subsequently designated over 50 percent of its 308 units for households qualifying for workforce housing.

By increasing the number of housing units in this income bracket, HACA serves a greater proportion of Austin families affected by the affordable housing shortage. “As the rest of the nation’s major cities develop their own long-term strategic plans, the Austin City Council’s Strategic Housing Blueprint sets a great example for how communities, housing authorities and investors can collaborate to alleviate the growing workforce housing shortage,” writes Bowen. 

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