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Affordability a middle-class issue? ANC speakers weigh in

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 by Joseph Caterine

Affordability is not just a low-income issue but a middle class issue as well, according to speakers at the Austin Neighborhood Council’s Oct. 26 meeting. Scott Swearingen, a lecturer in the University of Texas Department of Sociology, and Assistant City Manager Bert Lumbreras both presented on the subject, emphasizing the scope and urgency of the problem. “When I grew up here, you could buy a house,” Sweringen said. “Now you only can if you’re rich.” Lumbreras informed the audience of the city’s latest efforts, in particular the strategy of acquiring surplus land from the Austin Independent School District and Travis County and repurposing it for affordable housing. “The key is the property,” he said. ANC members also voted on a Resolution on Affordable Housing, which advocated, among other items, establishing a monitoring fee for the density bonus programs and enacting an affordable housing linkage fee for new construction. The resolution passed 36-1, with four ANC members abstaining.

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