Monday 19 September 2022 by Chad Swiatecki
The city’s goal of finding its way out of the homelessness crisis will get a boost next year from six local organizations undergoing training from a national leader in creating supportive housing for the homeless.
Last week, the Foundation for Supportive Housing announced that it is teaming up with the Texas Affordable Housing Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and Texas Capital Bank to open the new Texas Institute for Supportive Housing in Austin. The new organization, which will be housed outside TSAHC’s local offices, will train local homeless groups as well as developers and property managers in best practices to build new homeless units and provide services needed to help residents settle and thrive.
The six organizations receiving training — University of the Austin Metropolitan Area, Cady Lofts Development Team, Caritas Austin, Family Eldercare, Integral Care, and SAFE Alliance — will participate in classes through December, with each presenting its plans in January to create hundreds more. deep. Affordable new homes to help homeless locals.
These new units – a total of 550 is the expectation of the six participants – will go into the city’s goal of building 1,300 new units for the homeless, with vouchers intended to help find housing for another 1,700 individuals. Last year, the city announced a $550 million plan to house 3,000 homeless people using a combination of federal, county and city funds along with contributions from charitable groups. As of last week, that plan has reached 90 percent of its funding target.
Mayor Steve Adler said the institute, which is helping a city for the first time since it convened two years ago, will provide much-needed expertise to groups familiar with the challenges of Austin’s homelessness crisis.
“Homelessness is not a problem that can be resolved quickly; it requires extensive funding, long-term planning, and consistent community support. Unfortunately, no city has ended homelessness because it is one of the biggest challenges we face nationally,” Adler said by email. American cities assert that if homelessness is left unaddressed, a difficult problem becomes an uncontrollable problem. In building our own system to address our homeless residents, we visited cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles to see what worked and the lessons we could learn.”
The money the city has already raised for the larger target of 3,000 units would be beneficial because parts could be earmarked specifically for hard-to-fund city or district-wide service programs, said Michael Welt, TSAHC’s senior director of external relations. Supportive individual housing projects.
“The biggest challenge is how to pay for this type of housing. Supportive housing is difficult to finance, because most multi-family projects carry debt that is serviced by rent payments from tenants. But with supportive housing, rents are very low because the tenants have little or no income. On top of that, you need a sustainable services program that requires significant overhead. Funding just one development project is complicated, but what we’re trying to do in Austin is fund several developments at the same time,” he said via email.
“This could be the community’s greatest strength and what might make this work.”
Welt said that having six groups working on support housing projects that have already been funded and have the same goal of completing construction within three years is likely to create market momentum.
“With this group, we expect our level of success to be much higher because our teams are nearing the same stage in the development process, and they have capital commitments to building their projects. This latter consideration is usually the biggest hindrance. This is testament to the resources that the city and county have committed to this endeavor and the shared vision that These teams enjoy building successful supportive housing projects.”
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