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Council OKs homestead preservation plan

Friday, April 12, 2019 by Jo Clifton

On Thursday, Council approved a plan for investment in the only homestead preservation reinvestment zone that Austin has been allowed to create. The zone is an area in Central East Austin that includes seven predominantly low-income neighborhoods where 20 percent of the tax revenues generated are put into a fund to finance housing for low-income families. Right now there is $740,000 in the fund and staff anticipates adding nearly $677,000 for Fiscal Year 2019, according to Rosie Truelove, director of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development. Council approved increasing the increment set aside for financing housing from 10 percent to 20 percent in December. Revenue generated by the district will be awarded on a competitive basis through programs under NHCD, including Rental Housing Development Assistance, Acquisition & Development and Home Loan Rehabilitation programs. All revenue generated from the homestead preservation reinvestment zone shall be used to develop, build and preserve affordable housing within the zone and to benefit households at or below 70 percent of the area median family income, with at least half of the revenue to benefit households at or below 50 percent of the area median family income. The city asked legislators to allow them to create additional homestead preservation zones in 2017, but when the bill got to Gov. Greg Abbott, he vetoed it.

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