While the need for more affordable housing in Austin is still great, the affordable housing landscape in our city changes constantly thanks to the action of concerned city leaders, voters, nonprofits, innovative developers and corporate partners. On October 27th, HousingWorks Austin hosted the Building an Affordable Austin Bus Tour, to update invitees about some of the newest affordable developments, and some that have been renovated or are scheduled for renovation.
The event, sponsored by Bank of America, started at Aldrich 51, a 240-unit affordable apartment community in the Mueller Development. Our
host, Austin First Lady Diane Land greeted guests and HousingWorks Austin Board President Frances Ferguson gave a presentation about the types of affordable housing being created and about some of the bond-funded and preservation properties that have emerged.
Then, it was time to shove off. A series of speakers took turns addressing passengers about housing developments and issues they’ve been involved with. Jane Sisak of DMA Companies talked about Aldrich 51, Wildflower Terrace, an affordable complex for seniors, and later, the Rebekah Baines Johnson Center for seniors, which DMA is helping to renovate and expand. Foundation Communities Executive Director Walter Moreau climbed aboard at M Station Apartments, an affordable community known for its upscale design, proximity to the MLK Rail Station, its learning center for students and its environmental efficiency.
Next, HousingWorks board member Terry Mitchell, founder of Momark Development, briefed passengers on Chestnut Commons, a collection of condominiums in East Austin that are more affordable because of their diminutive size and density. Mitchell said this type of housing is particularly popular with single adults who want to live close to work or college. Passengers got a chance to disembark and stretch their legs and their minds at Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation’s Guadalupe Saldana Net Zero Subdivision. This development is home to GNDC’s community land trust homes for low-to-moderate income buyers, a colorful row of affordable duplexes and Jeremiah Program’s Moody Campus for single mothers with small children.
LifeWorks Austin Executive Director Susan McDowell joined the tour at LifeWorks’ The Works at Pleasant Valley. The affordable development for young adults, many of whom were experiencing homelessness, was partially funded by the affordable housing bonds passed in 2006 and is set for expansion in the near future.
The last stop was the Lexington Hills complex in the Riverside area. This affordable complex was purchased and renovated by Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC) a subsidiary of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA).
HACA Executive Vice President Sylvia Blanco and two AAHC staff members explained that Lexington Hills is one of many housing developments and business spaces AAHC has purchased, renovated and made affordable in recent years. Many thanks to Bank of America for sponsoring the bus tour. Click here to view a gallery that includes more photos from bus tour.