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Austin ISD hosts meeting to provide update on affordable housing for teachers, students

Some of the options include a mixture of multi-story units with a variety of offerings for amount of bedrooms, townhomes and studio apartments.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Independent School District (AISD) hosted a virtual meeting to provide an update on building two sites of affordable housing.

In October, AISD announced that the district was looking to convert two properties into affordable housing for teachers, staff and families of students.

The two buildings in consideration are the Anita Ferrales Coy Facility in East Austin and the former Rosedale School in Central Austin. 

On Monday, Feb.13, the district provided the community with an update on the Anita Ferrales Coy site, including a timeline for what is next for the development. The plans provided by AISD show that there are five different scenarios to create a variety of housing options – the first scenario only provides 254 total units whereas the fifth scenario provides 636 total units.

Some of these options include a mixture of multi-story units with a variety of offerings for amount of bedrooms, townhomes and studio apartments. The scenarios range from 2.59 acres to 5.32 acres in size.

Leaders are still figuring out exactly how many affordable housing units could be built on the 20-acre site near Boggy Creek in East Austin.

Rent in these buildings would be controlled by the district, but a developer partnered with AISD would build them. The main goal of the affordable housing push is to recruit and retain employees, but residents and advocates have said that raising employee wages would be a better solution.

District officials have stated that the housing push would not be a replacement for increasing wages. Instead, it would be in conjunction with raising pay to become the highest-paying district within Central Texas. 

KVUE's media partners at the Austin American-Statesman reported in October that AISD employs 11,000 people, and 95% of them earn less than $92,000 a year, which is 120% of the median family income in Austin. Furthermore, 91% of teachers in Austin make under $61,000 a year, which is 80% of the median family income. 

Anyone making less than 80% of the local median family income – $77,000 for our region – is considered to be low-income, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But the AISD affordable housing also goes beyond staff – it could assist families within the district that need it. Granted, district employees will get "first dibs" on any of the housing options.

The desire for affordable housing among employees is at an all-time high. When applications opened on May 30, 2022, for affordable homes for AISD employees by Habitat for Humanity, 1,200 employees applied within the first week.

Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown.

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