Austin continues to make progress toward meeting the 10-year goals laid out in the Strategic Housing Blueprint, particularly by constructing income-restricted units in High Opportunity Areas and preserving existing subsidized units, while production of new affordable housing units lags slightly.
The data comes from the 2021 Blueprint Scorecard and a four-year Progress-to-Date Scorecard (2018-2021) released through a partnership between the City’s Housing and Planning Department and the nonprofit group HousingWorks Austin.
The scorecards measure the progress made on the housing production goals and other metrics related to housing affordability set forth in the Strategic Housing Blueprint that was approved by Council in 2017. The Blueprint seeks to align resources and facilitate community partnerships around a single, strategic vision to create 60,000 affordable housing across the city, particularly for those making less than 80% of the median family income.
According to the scorecards, in 2021, the city exceeded its goal of building new housing units within a half-mile of Imagine Austin Centers and Corridors for the fourth year in a row. Over the past four years, the city has been most successful in meeting this goal, with 91% of all new housing units from 2018 to 2021 located within these areas.
Substantial progress was also achieved in preserving existing affordable housing, repairing and upgrading 1,550 units of housing units, ensuring that they remain affordable for low-income Austinites for years to come. Additionally, construction of units for households earning 81% MFI or above continued to grow, with the construction of nearly 7,500 units in 2021.
Nora Linares-Moeller, the Executive Director of HousingWorks Austin said, "The increase in the number of affordable units preserved over the past year is especially encouraging. With the cost of living continuing to increase in Austin, it is important that we do not lose any of the existing affordable housing in the city while new units are built to address the current housing shortage."
While the scorecards also indicate a continued lag toward the goal of 60,000 new affordable housing units, officials say delays are expected due in large part to the time and resources necessary to launch extensive housing projects.
“Realistically, the slower pace of constructing new affordable units is understandable when you consider the time and resources required to build both rental and home ownership units,” said HPD Executive Director Rosie Truelove. “We are currently looking at more than 2,000 rental and home ownership units in the construction pipeline within the next two years from funds made possible in large part by the voter-approved $250 million affordable housing bond in 2018.”
The annual scorecard (published 6-12 months after the close of the reporting period) can help Austin track its efforts to sustainably achieve affordability goals, expand housing opportunities, and ensure Austin remains a liveable city for all.
For access to the Blueprint Scorecards, more about the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint, and links to all of the past versions of the Blueprint Scorecard visit: AustinTexas.gov/blueprint
About HousingWorks Austin
HousingWorks Austin is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. They advance their mission to preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing through research, education, and advocacy in Austin, Texas and the surrounding region, with a commitment to ensuring those most in need have access to safe and affordable housing. Advocacy is guided by the maxim, ‘All Kinds of Homes, in All Parts of Town, for All Kinds of People’.
About Housing and Planning Department
The Housing and Planning Department provides resources related to planning, zoning, housing, and community development to enhance the quality of life of all Austinites. Equitable, efficient, and comprehensive planning with displacement prevention as a prioritized focus is the Department’s core charge in delivering housing services to the community.