Austin Democratic Socialists of America

Austin DSA 2018 Affordable Housing Bond Demands

Austin is in a housing crisis, and the only long-term way to preserve affordability for Austinites is to take more housing off the speculative real estate market and reserve it for need, not profit. Social democracies often provide 20% or more of their housing through public or nonprofit sectors; Austin provides less than 1%. If we want to create a city that supports working class community stability and prosperity, we must use every tool we can to expand and improve public, nonprofit, cooperative, and land trust housing.

Recently, Portland and Los Angeles passed housing bonds of $260 million and $1.2 billion, respectively. Austin will vote on an affordable housing bond in November 2018, but the proposed $161 million would barely address the city’s need for 48,000 affordable units. Our current bond proposal must be increased as much as possible. Austin can do better!

Austin DSA therefore demands:
  • That the bond’s allotment for affordable housing be as high as possible to adequately address the affordability crisis impacting low-income working class people in Austin, and at a minimum be at least $300 million;
  • That no less than $100 million be dedicated to Land Acquisition to support permanent affordability through public land, expansion of community land trusts, and land banking, especially in areas that are susceptible to gentrification and displacement;
  • That no less than $115 million be dedicated to Rental Housing Development Assistance to expand affordable housing options for working class and low-income Austinites and address chronic shortages in housing targeted to people experiencing homelessness;
  • That a significant portion of the affordable housing funds be targeted to public housing, affordable housing cooperatives of all types, and community land trusts;
  • That elected officials responsible for spending the bond show accountability by consulting tenant unions, renter advocacy organizations, people experiencing homelessness, and low-income communities of color throughout the period of the bond, with feedback and oversight opportunities designed to engage those not traditionally well-represented in the political process; and
  • That affordable housing 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.
Of the members of Austin DSA we ask the following:
  • That DSA members contact their City Council representatives and appropriate Commissioners to support this position; and
  • That DSA members commit resources in the form of canvassing and advocacy during 2018 in support of passing an affordable housing bond meeting the above criteria.