The City of Austin is looking for ways to increase funding for affordable housing in a section of East Austin that is experiencing gentrification at a rapid pace. Council approved a change to the existing homestead preservation district, whose boundaries extend roughly between Interstate 35 to the west, Airport Boulevard to the east, Manor Road to the north and Lady Bird Lake to the south.
In 2015, the city began setting aside 10 percent of tax revenue gained from increased property values and saving it to pay for affordable housing in the area that is rent-restricted based on a household’s income.
When the City Council announced plans to create a second preservation district, Governor Greg Abbott vetoed a bill in 2017 that would have allowed the city to create additional districts.
With the City’s plans sidestepped, the Council made plans to increase the percentage of money being put aside from rising property values in the existing district to 20 percent of all revenue generated.
With gentrification happening no matter what, Council Member Pio Renteria suggested that the best route the City can take is to take advantage of the added value to fund affordable housing.
Many other municipalities across the U.S. use other methods for affordable housing like rent control, inclusionary zone and linkage fees, but those items are not allowed in the Texas.