Affordability and mobility have a whole lot in common. Without a doubt, they are the two biggest challenges facing Austin and the surrounding region. In addition, solving one issue goes a long way to solving the other. Recognizing the relationship between affordability and mobility, the HousingWorks Austin Board of Directors endorsed the 2016 Mobility Bond, Proposition 1.
HousingWorks has explored in depth the intersection between housing and transit over the past several years. In 2011, we brought together experts from around the country to highlight different approaches to both planning and implementing transit-oriented development. In 2014, we co-hosted with UT’s Opportunity Forum “Housing + Transit: Getting on Track in Austin.” Our keynote speaker, Shelly Poticha, was instrumental in aligning federal policies around affordable housing and transit. All of our research and convening has led us to the belief that we must integrate truly affordable housing (through both new construction and preservation) throughout our city, and particularly in proximity to public transportation. Many low-income households rely on public transportation. Public transportation enhances “household affordability” and provides low- and moderate-income household with access to opportunity, including jobs, education and health care.
This November, Austin voters will consider a $720 million bond proposal to fund much-needed (and long overdue) transportation and mobility bond improvements. In addition to regional and local mobility improvements, the proposal identifies crucial corridor improvement projects, which are the result of years of intensive study and stakeholder input. Embedded in the proposed corridor improvements is the recognition that affordable housing is integral to thriving, sustainable and equitable communities. In fact, the corridors have been prioritized based on affordability criteria including:
- Preservation of existing affordable housing and local businesses
- Opportunities for development of new affordable housing
- Geographic dispersion of funding
- Opportunities to facilitate increased supply of mixed-income housing
Voters can get all the facts needed to make an informed decision on the City of Austin’s website: http://www.austintexas.gov/2016bond. Early voting begins on Monday, October 24, 2016. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. I hope you will join me and the HousingWorks Board of Directors in supporting the 2016 Mobility Bond.