Affordable housing gets boost from council


by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 11:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 13 at 8:25 AM

AUSTIN --- In a 4 to 3 vote Tuesday, the Austin City Council approved using $10 million out of a $14 million city surplus on affordable housing projects. 

It happened during a budget workshop session at City Hall. 

The measure comes three months after Austin voters decided at the polls not to fund a $50-plus million bond package which included money for affordable housing. 

Austin Mayor Pro-Tem Sheryl Cole is one of three council members voting against using some of the surplus money for housing because Cole said the voters already spoke in November. However, she told KVUE the move Tuesday is an example of how great the need is in Austin for affordable housing. 

“The vote today was significant because it did restore some of that funding that was needed that was not approved by the voters, but by no means does this replace all of that funding or take us off the hook for needing this type of housing,” said Cole. 

Low-income families making half of the median household income can qualify. 

“Certainly it includes those who are moving from chronic homelessness to self-sufficiency, but we're also talking about seniors who want to age in place but can't afford to stay in their homes,” said Rebecca Giello with Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development. 

There are already half a dozen affordable housing projects on the books.  

Cole also told KVUE that we can expect to see the first results from the $10 million in surplus funds as early as next month.