The Austin Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) has recommended 13 community organizations to receive a total of $536,188 in grants to create community-based approaches that mitigate displacement and increase the availability of affordable housing in the city.
The Community Development Corporation Capacity Building Grants were funded with $386,188 from the City’s Housing Trust Fund and $150,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME CHDO Reserve. They must be spent over 12 months.
Organizations working in neighborhoods experiencing displacement pressures will use the grant funds to develop programs to address affordable housing and specific community benefits in accordance with Austin City Council’s Strategic Direction 2023.
The grants are part of a broader, multi-faceted Displacement Prevention Portfolio, which the City established last year to support individuals and community groups in addressing displacement in Austin.
Applications were scored by a panel of AHFC staff and community experts, based the strength of the organization’s demonstrated ability to build, manage, and maintain affordable housing for low-income households most vulnerable to displacement. Organizations were also scored based on their eligibility to receive federal funds.
The funding recommendations include:
Caritas of Austin, LLC, was recommended for $50,000 to contract with a property management firm to design an apprenticeship work plan for Caritas staff to develop rental property management skills. Having management skills will be a step forward for Caritas to expand its capacity to provide affordable housing for low-income households.
Community Housing Expansion of Austin was recommended for $30,813 to become a Certified Technical Assistance Provider to support and train staff in real estate acquisition evaluation and execution.
Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation was recommended for $47,125 in operating capital to hire a process optimization consultant and another employee to “create efficiencies, determine gaps, and explore organization structure” for the potential doubling of their existing affordable housing portfolio.
The SAFE Alliance was recommended for $46,750 to support the redevelopment of both the Grove Boulevard Campus and the Rathgaber Village properties by hiring an experienced housing consultant to guide the process of qualifying for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Blackland Community Development Corporation was recommended for $50,000 to fund a fundraising/volunteer coordinator who will work to acquire funding for affordable housing, coordinate with partner organizations, and recruit and manage volunteers for housing repair projects.
Project Transitions was recommended for $45,250 to support two large development projects providing supportive housing for Austinites living with HIV/AIDS. As the developments begin construction, Project Transitions needs to upgrade its property management and case management software to increase functionality and improve organizational efficiency and flexibility.
Community Powered Workshop (CPW) was recommended for $45,000 to hire an employee to pilot an expansion of the Alley Flat Initiative, which helps homeowners to build affordable accessory dwelling units in neighborhoods that are otherwise unaffordable for low-income renters. CPW collaborated with the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation and the University of Texas at Austin Center for Sustainable Development to launch the Alley Flats Initiative and looks to expand that partnership.
Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) was recommended for $20,000 to increase its legal expertise when entering into legal agreements with potential developers of Continuum of Care units for homeless individuals. The lack of expertise has been identified as an obstacle to expanding development partnerships.
Accessible Housing Austin! (AHA!) was recommended for $50,000 to hire an on-site maintenance manager for the soon-to-be-completed AHA! @ Briarcliff affordable housing development.
Blackshear Neighborhood Development Corporation (BNDC) was recommended for $50,000 to help train its board of directors in nonprofit and housing management, thus providing a foundation to grow BNDC to develop multiple affordable development projects in the future.
Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation was recommended for $34,750 to increase its community outreach programs and create new service capacity, such as providing property tax consulting for residents in the neighborhood.
Colony Park/Lakeside Community Development Corporation (CP/LS CDC) was recommended for $34,125 to hire a project coordinator, secure a consultant, and to fund expenses related to drafting and implementing a comprehensive community outreach plan. The funding will allow CP/LS CDC to expand its presence in the combined neighborhoods and build its organizational capacity.
Montopolis Community Development Corporation $32,375 to hire a part-time executive director, a grant writer, and a real estate agent to improve its accounting system, develop a fundraising plan, and pursue CHDO certification.
“These grants will help small organizations expand their capacity to lead the effort to build a broad range of affordable housing options for the diverse housing needs that exist. This is part of our long-term displacement prevention strategy and we are excited to support these efforts,” said Nefertitti Jackmon, a program manager for the City’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department.
In the coming months, additional Displacement Prevention initiatives that support individuals will be announced, including an online search tool for income-restricted housing, a public education campaign for homeowners dealing with aggressive house flippers, a pilot Preference Policy program to help families return to former neighborhoods, and a geographically-focused home repair initiative for households at risk of displacement.