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Austin approves $23M to help prevent gentrification near new transit hubs

Monday, February 8, 2021 by Mose Buchele, KUT

Austin City Council has put $23 million toward projects to stop people from getting priced out of their neighborhoods. It’s the first use of money from a larger anti-displacement fund set up to soften the gentrifying effects of planned rail and transportation projects.

Real estate development, property values, taxes and rent will likely rise around new train stations and transit hubs approved in last year’s $7.1 billion Project Connect transportation bond.

To help people who might be priced out, voters approved a $300 million anti-displacement fund along with the bond.

City Council Member Greg Casar, who sponsored the fund, said the initial $23 million will go to projects like permanent land trusts to help low-income homeowners stay in their houses and help “tenants actually buy out their landlords and (form) a cooperative so that people who might get pushed out by rising rents become the owners of their own apartment communities.”

Capital Metro says construction on the new rail lines could start by 2024.

Casar said he believes it’s important to start safeguarding gentrifying communities, “so that when those train lines open up folks can afford to live there and have easy access to hop on a train.”

The city is planning a community outreach campaign to figure out how to spend the remaining $267 million in the anti-displacement fund.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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