Options for Affordable Housing in Austin are dwindling and doing so at a rapid pace. According to DS News and the Austin Monitor, a coalition of community activists are calling on major tech giants with a large footprint in the city to invest in affordable housing in Austin to the tune of $2 billion.
Development Without Displacement Coalition, as the group is called, held a press conference at Austin City Hall calling on Apple, Google, Facebook and others whom they say have brought thousands of highly-paid workers responsible for driving up home prices nearly 40 percent in the past five years to to fund affordable housing developments for those who are being pushed out of the city.
“So many tech companies have moved in and we’re at kind of a critical mass or tipping point because the tech economy influences the way people live,” said Frank Rodriguez, a group leader and former policy aide to Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “High-tech job seekers are delighted, but first-time buyers and renters aren’t feeling the benefits of tech companies, which have mostly been filtered to the wealthy, and they often displace working-class black, white and Latino communities.”
According to the coalition, the money that comes from these companies should be directed to existing nonprofit groups and community development corporations that providing funding for new affordable housing communities to be built or for rental assistance programs, down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers and home repairs that keep people in their existing homes.
Rodriguez said the city’s Innovation Office that found more than 232,00 households are currently at risk of displacement— needing more than $8,600 in assistance per home to help protect them from fast-rising property values. It is these estimates that is the basis for the call for $2 Billion in investment from tech company giants.