Multi-million dollar affordable housing apartment complex coming to Austin

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(ABC 6 News) – As many communities work to fix the affordable housing issue, a non-profit is working to fix the issue with a new apartment building in Austin.

A multi-million-dollar affordable housing apartment complex will soon be built on 3rd St. SE and 1st Ave. SE. Three Rivers Community Action, a non-profit focusing on helping low-income families is behind the project.

“There’s a definite need for more affordable housing especially some larger unit housing for larger families,” said Susan Strandberg, the community development officer with Three Rivers Community Action.

“Sometimes it’s really difficult for households that are a bit larger to find affordable rental housing. It’s not hard to lease up those units because once people see that project under construction, people start calling. We refer them to our management company and they get on a waiting list.”

The apartments will serve working families and have nine units of supportive housing. The supportive housing units will be for people experiencing homelessness and those with disabilities. Rent will be set anywhere from 30-60% of the area median income.

A 2017 housing study found through 2025, Austin is in need of more than 500 housing units.

“It’s not just affordable housing,” explained Taggert Medgaarden, the executive director with Austin HRA.

“It’s market-rate housing. It’s senior housing. Anything we can do to reduce those housing numbers, we’re just checking the box.”

$1.5 million was awarded in housing tax credits for the project. Factors like accessibility play a part in how much money a project like this can get. The Hormel Foundation, the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA,) and the city itself are some of the others helping with the rest of the bill.

Finding space is as much of an issue as funding.

“It’s hard to find with the community and neighborhoods around it,” said Tom Dankert, the administrative service director with the city of Austin.

“When this site rose up to the top, knowing it was only three landowners for 3/4 of the block, it made it easy to approach those landowners instead of a place with 20 landowners and getting 20 landowners to resell.”

The goal is to break ground sometime this summer with the building finished sometime next summer.