Monday, November 4, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs tax credits for affordable housing

Council gave its blessing Thursday to an application for low-income housing tax credits issued through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, for the redevelopment of a 62-unit affordable housing project to be known as the Oaks on North Plaza. Such approvals are generally routine and members of the public rarely show up for the public hearings on the financing.

But Lanell Espinosa, a member of the tenants organization at the Oaks on Lamar, another property managed by the same company, Related Affordable LLC, addressed Council members, telling them that Related had worked with her tenants organization at her complex as well as two other complexes.

“We have all had problems with Related and how they treat tenants,” Espinosa said. She said the tenants organizations had been meeting with Related, Council Member Greg Casar, the Austin Housing Authority and the tenants organization BASTA! “to get commitments on how they will improve our properties.”

She concluded, “It hasn’t been easy, but we’re glad the Related management is finally acting in good faith to address our concerns and concerns of the residents at other properties they own and to make our property a better place.” She said they had reached a written agreement to improve conditions.

Casar said tenants of several properties brought serious concerns to Related, noting that they had a lengthy meeting. “It showed the very important work of how when tenant associations bring their issues to the forefront and work with the city and the housing authority and private partners, that we can make things better for everyone.”

He noted that the project is in his district and that the city would be watching to make sure Related keeps its promises to the tenants.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

affordable housing: This general term refers to housing that is affordable to Austinites, with or without subsidy.

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

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