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ZAP sends recommendations to Council with displacement mitigation strategies

Monday, February 10, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

After the Zoning and Platting Commission engaged in a lengthy discussion about displacement mitigation strategies in Austin at its January meeting, members returned Feb. 4 to present a list of recommendations for Council to develop additional solutions. The lengthy list fell into two categories: increasing funding and measuring program performance. While the recommendation called to “significantly increase funding,” the commission also pushed for more data on the efficacy of city programs, including a biannual update on program administrative costs, expenditures and funding sources. One particular point prompted a dialogue among commissioners. Instead of measuring median family income using data from across the city, the commission recommended measuring median family income based on census tracts. “We’re getting too big,” Commissioner Jim Duncan said. “It’s got to be more granular.” This suggested change was based on data from a report by the University of Texas Latino Studies that indicated if Austin’s affordable housing density bonus program was based on 60 percent of the MFI for Austin, that figure would amount to $48,840. However, the study showed that the median family income for black and Latino families in Austin is $44,352 and $45,199, respectively. In light of this data, Commissioner Ann Denkler said, “We’re not getting the people who need the housing.” This list of recommendations came from the commission’s Affordable Housing Workgroup, which met following the January discussion on the subject, and was supported unanimously by the full commission.

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