Austin Gets $200K Grant For Affordable Housing Goal

Austin, Housing Conservancy awarded $200K grant toward affordable housing creation amid brisk gentrification. (Shutterstock)

AUSTIN, TX — The City of Austin and private real estate partnership Housing Conservancy were awarded a 2019 Outstanding Achievement Metropolitan City CommunityWINS Grant at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Hawaii on Sunday.

The $200,000 grant will support the preservation of affordable housing for working families through the Austin Housing Conservancy Fund (the "Fund") managed by Affordable Central Texas (ACT). The Fund represents a significant private equity financing innovation designed to preserve workforce housing apartment buildings by saving them from being gentrified and protecting existing tenants from being displaced, its officials described.

The effort represents the first large-scale use of such an economic model, which city officials said is helping to establish Austin’s leadership position on the issues of affordability and housing opportunity. "We must preserve multifamily rental housing for middle class families or we will lose the diversity of people and cultures and the artistic and creative talent that make our city special," Mayor Steve Adler said in a prepared statement. "The loss of affordable housing supply in Austin that has come with our growth hits our teachers, medical workers, first responders, artists, musicians and other such workers hardest."

The Housing Conservancy is a private real estate partnership with a mission driven, charitable non-profit as its managing partner. As its mission, the partnership fights market trends by competing in the marketplace to buy mid-age multi-family apartment buildings so they can be preserved at current rental rents instead of being purchased, upgraded and rented at market-rate, at a net loss of affordable units, according to its press materials. In turn, partnership investors garner modest, but steady returns with limited risk, and see significant value in having supported real social good.

"Preservation of workforce affordable units not only helps residents but also stabilizes neighborhoods," David Steinwedell, President and CEO of ACT, said in a prepared statement. "When the Austin Housing Conservancy Fund acquires a property, no residents will be displaced," he added. "In fact, the Fund will renovate and revitalize properties to ensure that the moderate income families and individuals can remain for long periods of time, providing stability for area schools and local businesses while improving health and educational outcomes."

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About Affordable Central Texas

Affordable Central Texas is a 501(c)(3) that is the sponsor and investment manager of the Fund. ACT launched the Fund in 2018 with the acquisition of three properties totaling 792 units and serving over 1,200 residents. The grant will allow for the continued growth of the organization and Fund to move toward their 10-year goal of preserving over 10,000 units of rental housing for 15,000 residents in greater Austin. For more information, visit austinhousingconservancy.com.

About Austin Housing Conservancy Fund

The Austin Housing Conservancy Fund is an open-ended social impact private equity fund. The first of its kind to provide long-term moderate- and middle-income housing preservation, the Fund’s purpose is to purchase and preserve affordable multifamily rental housing for Austinites. Raised, funded and deployed in Austin, the Fund delivers risk-adjusted financial returns through flexible, discretionary investments that directly benefit Austin’s teachers, nurses, first responders and other core workers. For more information, visit austinhousingconservancy.com.

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