For immediate release
Austin is in the middle of a housing affordability crisis for low and moderate income families. Our city needs at least 48,000 additional affordable housing units to make sufficient progress to address this crisis. The current proposal of $161 million will not get the job done.
To address the displacement of lower income people and communities of color and get serious about construction of affordable housing for low income and low wage families, the Austin Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) calls for a “Get Serious About Housing” $300 million bond. The Austin chapter of over 800 members recently passed a resolution urging the City Council to boost the affordable housing bond to at least $300 million for the November 2018 ballot.
“The only long-term way to preserve affordability for thousands of low and moderate income Austinites,” said Austin DSA Co-Chair Glenn Scott, “is to take more housing off the speculative real estate market and reserve it for need, not profit.” A minimum of $300 million is needed to begin to address this gap, Scott said.
The resolution calls for $100 million to be dedicated to land acquisition, $115 million to Rental Housing Development Assistance, and a significant portion to public housing, cooperatives and community land trusts. It also calls for elected officials responsible for spending the bond to consult stakeholders including tenant unions, renter advocacy organizations, people experiencing homelessness, and low-income communities of color.
The resolution urges affordable housing bonds be targeted toward residents at and below 60 percent area median household income, and that calculations of affordability be based on the complete cost of living, including housing, transportation, and energy costs.
“This won’t fix the affordability crisis on its own, but it’d be a good step forward to protect low-income Austinites from the private housing market”, said DSA Housing Committee Chair Marcus Denton.
Austin DSA is the local branch of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the United States, and is committed to building a democratically run economy and society that serves the needs of all. Recently the chapter has been heavily involved in efforts to pass the recent Paid Sick Days resolution, to promote the campaign of Susanna Woody for Travis County Commissioner in Precinct 4, and to support the national effort around Medicare for All.