Austin's 'Prop A': How past housing bond money was used
During early voting and on November 6, Austin taxpayers are casting ballots on a historic $250 million affordable housing bond. The proposition, known as 'Prop A', is more than twice the amount approved in the last two affordable housing propositions in 2006 and 2013 combined.
If you've driven on 11th Street by the Texas State Capitol, you may have noticed a colorful building at the corner of Trinity Street. Some mistake the development for pricey condos, but it's really home to 135 residents making well below $30,000 a year.
"It's very convenient," says Jane Wilkerson. Wilkerson moved into her Capitol Studios efficiency on 11th Street four years ago. "I like it. The people are friendly. The managers are friendly," she says.
It was the first time -- in a long time -- a $500 rent meant she could afford to be on her own. "Independent woman... like that song," she says with a smile.
The development -- a Foundation Communities property -- was 10 percent funded by voter-approved affordable housing bonds.
"I think the max income here is $30,000 a year but the average income is about $1,000 a month," explains Foundation Communities Executive Director Walter Moreau.
Foundation Communities received $20 million of the $65 million voters approved for affordable housing in 2013. With it, they've completed a half dozen new properties and have more in the works for the people who need it.
"It's teachers, it's musicians, it's kids that have aged out of foster care, it's veterans, it's people with disabilities," he explains of the residents who live at Foundation Communities properties. In addition to affordable housing, Capitol Studios provides fitness, educational and recovery resources for community members.
In the Mueller neighborhood, Aldrich 51 -- built by Diana McIver & Associates -- was also partially funded with affordable housing bond money. The property provides 200 apartments for people making $36,000 a year or less.
Under construction near the MLK MetroRail stop, another bond-funded development by Lonestar Development will offer 60 units for people whose income is under $30,000 annually.
New properties aren't the only projects affordable housing bond money from Prop A can be used on. Of the proposed $250 million, $28 million is designated for home repairs for income-qualified Austin residents.