AUSTIN, Texas — When you try to wrap up Austin in one word, "music" may come to mind. But recently, the word may be "unaffordable." That's a problem, trying to keep the former while dealing with the latter.
Austin is the "live music capital of the world." But only because of people like Paula Niemeyer. She teaches music, writes songs and sings – but she'd probably be the first to tell you that the most beautiful sound she has ever heard is a “pop.”
That was the sound of the nail gun, putting up the first walls on the home for Paula Niemeyer and her partner, Robert.
“Are you guys excited about this?” asked KVUE Daybreak’s Rob Evans.
“Oh, are you kidding me?” Paula Niemeyer said with a laugh.
“Most exciting day of our lives so far,” Robert Niemeyer said with a smile.
But before we tell you more about this day, it's important to know that it's music that brought these two together. They first met at a music festival in Austin. But a musician’s pay couldn't keep up with the cost of living, and they had to choose between their two great loves: the music or the city.
“All musicians are getting kicked out of Austin,” Paula Niemeyer said. “Because there is space to rent, it's just so expensive.”
Then they found out about Habitat for Humanity.
“We've been walking by here for years now,” Robert Niemeyer said.
The two have been renting nearby, but the Army veteran said it has become too dangerous.
“Our neighbors right over there have bullet holes in their cars,” Robert Niemeyer explained.
So the couple applied for the program.
“It's been a long road,” Paula Niemeyer said. “It's been a long road.”
That was the scene earlier this year. Since then, every Thursday for months, volunteers have shown up. All coming together to help keep the couple in Austin. And help keep Austin, Austin.
Construction on the couple's home wrapped up this week. They told KVUE they're going to set up a music studio and have a backyard garden. They also said they’re especially excited to finally have a spare bedroom to show out-of-town guests how awesome Austin really is.
Paula Niemeyer has a performance this Saturday, if you’d like to check out her music.