Habitat for Humanity can’t afford to keep building single-family homes in Austin


It’s a win-win. 2-SYDNEY: AUSTIN HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HAS BEEN BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOMES FOR CENTRAL TEXAS FAMILIES FOR DECADES. BUT HIGH PRICES FORCED THEM TO RETHINK THEIR STRATEGY. 2-ROBERT: KXAN’S YOOJIN CHO SHOWS US WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE NONPROFIT… IN AUSTIN’S CURRENT REAL ESTATE LANDSCAPE. WAYNE GERAMI, VP OF CLIENT SERVICES: “SO THIS NEIGHBORHOOD IS REALLY DREAMS FOR 67 FAMILIES BEING ANSWERED.”AUSTIN HABITAT IS FINISHING UP A PHASE OF ITS NEWEST SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES.BUT WHAT THEY’RE WORKING ON NEXT IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. BILLY WHIPPLE, VP OF CONSTRUCTION: “IT’S REALLY WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO CAPITALIZE ON THE OPPORTUNITY.”A COUNCIL RESOLUTION TO EASE RESTRICTIONS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS ALLOWING HABITAT TO BUILD THIS — 57 CONDOS IN NEAR THE PLAZA SALTILLO STATION. THE VICE PRESIDENT OF CONSTRUCTION SAYS THEY’RE GOING DENSER AND TALLER BECAUSE LAND IS SO EXPENSIVE. YOOJIN CHO: “BILLY WHIPPLE TELLS ME THERE ARE SOME HOMES THEY BUILT 15 YEARS AGO FOR $50,000. IF YOU LOOK AT THEIR PROPERTY VALUES NOW, JUST THE LAND ALONE IS $140,000.” HABITAT SAYS IT HAS A LONG WAY TO GO BEFORE THEY GET PERMITS TO BREAK GROUND. THAT’S A FRUSTRATION ALL BUILDERS SHARE. SCOTT TURNER, OWNER OF RIVERSIDE HOMES: “WE HAVE AN EXCEEDINGLY LONG PROCESS.””FOR A SMALL PROJECT TO TAKE ONE OR TWO YEARS JUST GOING THROUGH PERMITTING PROCESS BEFORE YOU CAN BREAK GROUND, THINK OF ALL PEOPLE WHO NEED TO FIND A HOME IN THAT ONE OR TWO YEAR CYCLE AND PRICES ARE GOING UP THE WHOLE TIME.”THE CITY OF AUSTIN IS STILL IN THE PROCESS OF REWRITING ITS LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE, ANDBUILDERS HOPE TO SEE IT SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. SCOTT TURNER:”BECAUSE EVERYONE IS AUSTIN IS MISSING OUT UNTIL WE CAN GET SOME MORE HOUSING ON THE GROUND.”IN THE MEANTIME… HABITAT SAYS IT’S EXPLORING ALL OPTIONS TO PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING. BILLY WHIPPLE”IF WE CAN DO 3 UNITS, 3 SALES ON ONE PROPERTY THEN THAT’S WHAT WE’LL GO FOR.” YOOJIN CHO KXAN NEWS.ROBERT: AUSTIN’S CITY COUNCIL WAS HOPING TO VOTE ON AN UPDATED LAND USE CODE IN OCTOBER.THE CITY MANAGER SAID THIS WEEK… “DUE TO THE SCOPE OF WORK,” HE’S PROPOSING A DECEMBER VOTE. MAYOR STEVE ADLER: “QUITE FRANKLY I WANT THE MANAGER TO TAKE THE TIME HE NEEDS IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE A GOOD PRODUCT, SO WHILE I WANTED IT TO HAPPEN AS QUICKLY AS WE CAN, I DON’T IT TO HAPPEN MORE QUICKLY THAN IT SHOULD.”SYDNEY:YOOJIN MENTIONED THAT IN MAY – AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL VOTED TO RELAX BUILDING REGULATIONS FOR DENSE, AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS.THE GOAL IS TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF HOMES AVAILABLE FOR LOW AND MODERATE INCOME FAMILIES.CITY COUNCIL MEMBER GREG CASAR PROPOSED THE RESOLUTION IN FEBRUARY.THE CHANGE MEANS IF 50 PERCENT OF A DEVELOPMENT INCLUDES AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS.. SOME BUILDING STANDARDS CAN BE WAIVED.THOSE STANDARDS CAN BE RELATED TO HEIGHT, SETBACKS

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