What about the following wording? Hopefully it takes into account most of the concerns about the issue too. If we want to, let’s go ahead and start the vote soon though, so if anyone has any suggestions, please let us know as soon as you can. Do we want to provide anything about housing vouchers, etc.?
Friends of Austin Neighborhoods Affordable Housing Bond Demands
Austin is in a housing crisis. To truly be an inclusive city, we need to make sure we build enough housing so that longtime residents and newcomers alike have a place to live. The market won’t build enough on its own; we need public investment to ensure homes for people from all income levels.
Recently, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles passed housing bonds of $260 million, $500 million, and $1.2 billion, respectively. Austin will vote on an affordable housing bond in November 2018, but the initial figure of $85 million would barely address the city’s need for 48,000 affordable units. Our current bond proposal must be increased as much as possible to fund housing directly and to help leverage funds for new construction. Austin can do better!
Friends of Austin Neighborhoods therefore demands:
- That the bond’s allotment for affordable housing be as high as possible to adequately address the affordability crisis impacting working people in Austin, and be at a minimum $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 in areas that are susceptible to gentrification and displacement as identified by Mueller et al.1;
- That no less than $115 million be dedicated to Rental Housing Development Assistance to expand affordable housing options for working class Austinites and address chronic shortages in housing targeted to people experiencing homelessness in areas already suffering from gentrification and displacement as identified by Mueller et al.;
- 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 organizations, people experiencing homelessness, and people of color throughout the period of the bond for their feedback with neighborhood meetings designed to engage those not traditionally well-represented by the political process;
- That no money be allocated to buying existing multifamily structures;
- That no money be allocated to repair/remodel assistance program;
- That calculations of affordability for residents be based on the complete cost of living including housing, transportation, and energy costs; and
- That the target of this bond be ensuring people at every level of income have the ability to live in every neighborhood in Austin.
Of the FAN membership, we ask the following:
- That members contact their City Council representatives and appropriate Commissioners to support this position; and
- That members commit resources in the form of canvassing and advocacy during 2018 in support of passing an affordable housing bond meeting the above criteria.
1 Mapping Vulnerability to Gentrification and Displacement Study (Elizabeth Mueller, Jake Wegmann, and Heather Way, University of Texas at Austin)