The new supportive housing development will provide 171 units with on-site services
AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin Housing Department celebrates the monumental opening of the Austin Housing Finance Corporation’s (AHFC) first permanent supportive housing community. Espero Rutland is located in District 4 at 1934 Rutland Drive. The development is already accepting applications and began welcoming residents at the beginning of the year. The 2-acre property features 171 furnished studio apartments designed to house residents at risk of or who have experienced chronic homelessness – permanently. All units will be affordable for households earning at or below 60% median family income.
“Espero marks AHFC’s first of many permanent supportive housing communities to open in Austin,” explains Mandy DeMayo, Interim Director for the Housing Department. “We couldn’t be prouder to help 171 households have a place to call home. We are grateful to all of the partners that helped make Espero happen as we work together to increase affordable housing for vulnerable individuals and families.”
Espero, developed in collaboration with The Vecino Group and Caritas of Austin, was funded through various sources. This includes $17 million in Private Activity Bonds issued by AHFC, a $17 million construction loan and an $11.4 million permanent loan from Citi, $11 million in 4% LIHTC equity syndicated by Boston Financial and invested by Aetna (a CVS Health company), $3 million in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) debt financing through the Multifamily Direct Loan (MFDL) program, $750,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, and finally, $7.5 million in AHFC debt financing through the Rental Housing Development Assistance (RHDA) program.
“We are thrilled to see the grand opening of Espero Rutland, which will provide much-needed affordable housing for our unhoused neighbors and help address the growing issue of homelessness in our community,” said Jo Kathryn Quinn, President & CEO of Caritas of Austin. “Homelessness is a complex issue, and there is no single solution. But we also know that housing is the critical first step in helping people rebuild their well-being.”
Both the City and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin dedicated project-based vouchers to support the facility’s operation. The development includes 101 housing vouchers dedicated to the property, trauma-informed design, and on-site supportive services provided by Caritas of Austin. The Housing Authority of the City of Austin provided 50 project-based vouchers, with a total value of $17 million over the course of 20 years.
“Espero Rutland development is a huge win for our community and a win for our homeless neighbors and veterans,” said Michael Gerber, CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. “HACA is proud to partner with Caritas, the City of Austin, and so many community partners on this important development. Twenty-five chronically homeless veterans and twenty-five other homeless neighbors will receive nearly $17 million in rental assistance through HACA’s project-based voucher program over the next 20 years. Espero Rutland is a home run.”
Espero, meaning “I hope” in Spanish, is a multi-story building with efficiency apartments, soothing indoor and outdoor amenities, and on-site supportive services for residents exiting homelessness. Each furnished apartment will come with individual kitchens and bathrooms.
On-site services are a critical feature of this community:
- Caritas of Austin will provide evidence-based social support to all residents of Espero.
- Residents will receive personalized support in housing, education, employment, food, and connection to mental and physical health services.
- Case managers will work alongside peer support specialists who have experienced homelessness, PTSD, substance use, or other shared experiences to provide an additional layer of support.
- Residents will have 24/7 access to on-site Community Access and Support.
“Espero Rutland is an excellent example of what can happen when the public and private sectors work together for the greater good,” said Rick Manzardo, CEO of Vecino Group. “We are proud to be part of this initiative and hope this development will serve as a model for other communities to follow.”
The Austin Housing Finance Corporation thanks all the partners that helped make Espero possible from initial conception, design, and permitting through financing, construction, and operation. Resources for affordable housing are available online at www.austintexas.gov/housing.
About the City of Austin Housing Department
The City of Austin Housing Department provides equitable and comprehensive housing, community development, and displacement prevention to enhance the quality of life of all Austinites. To access affordable housing and community resources, visit www.austintexas.gov/housing.
About the Austin Housing Finance Corporation
The Austin Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) was created as a public, non-profit corporation and instrumentality of the City of Austin. The mission of the AHFC is to generate and implement strategic housing solutions for the benefit of low- and moderate-income residents of the City of Austin.
About Caritas of Austin
Caritas of Austin believes that when every person has a stable place to call home, they can realize their full potential and contribute to our community. We build well-being by making sure that people have safe places to live, access to healthy groceries, jobs that provide a reliable living wage, and the opportunity to learn life skills. Together, our professional staff partners with clients to construct a strong foundation and a community of ongoing support so that they can withstand the life storms that affect all of us, such as an unexpected job loss or a family illness. Our innovative, personalized, and proven approach to building well-being creates a more vibrant Austin for all.
About Vecino Group
The Vecino Group is a company devoted to development projects that address a broader community issue, set an example, give back, and inspire. They have properties across the U.S. that are similar in focus and target population. While this is The Vecino Group’s first development in Texas, the firm has experience entering into new markets and making an impact.