Neighborhood Housing and Community Development
Message from the Director
The mission of the City of Austin's Department of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development (NHCD) is to provide housing, community development and small business development services to benefit eligible residents, so they can have access to livable neighborhoods and increase their opportunities for self-sufficiency. To accomplish this mission of addressing the community’s affordability challenges, NHCD deploys a multi-pronged approach using innovative tools and proven best practices and partnerships. The department fosters pioneering collaboration among public, nonprofit and private sector partnerships to achieve the results highlighted below:
- 191 affordable rental units were created and/or preserved using federal and local funds;
- 622 repair services were provided to eligible homeowners earning at or below 80% Median Family Income;
- 378 potential homebuyers were assisted with financial education; and
- 661 services were provided to eligible beneficiaries requiring assistance with childcare, elderly services, and youth services.
NHCD’s partnership with the national Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is a recent step to build crucial capacity that can have positive life-changing outcomes for Austin residents. The GHHI model integrates stand-alone housing intervention programs under the umbrella of a comprehensive service delivery system. This is achieved by creating a single all-inclusive program application that would enable families to efficiently apply to all home rehabilitation and improvement programs offered by various City departments. Program participants include Austin Energy, NHCD, as well as non-profit partners that deliver home repair services with City funds. This initiative aims to simplify applicant eligibility verification processes and reduce work days lost by homeowners due to housing hazard related health issues.
An important program launched in 2015 to address Austin’s affordability challenges for owners, particularly in gentrifying communities, was the City’s Community Land Trust (CLT) program. The program allows eligible Austin residents to purchase a home and lease the land. By taking the cost of the land out of the transaction, homes are more affordable than those on the open real estate market. Austin’s Community Land Trust provides lasting community assets and permanently affordable housing opportunities for residents.
Voters approved $65 million in General Obligation (GO) Bonds in 2013 for affordable housing initiatives that continue to provide best practice affordable housing solutions throughout the community. Approximately $14 million in bond proceeds have been disbursed to date to fund Rental Housing Development Assistance and Home Repair projects. By the end of FY 2015-16, $35 million of general obligation bond funds would be deployed in programs. These programs assist in preserving, revitalizing, and creating affordable housing opportunities.
Finally, the Department recognizes the importance of accurate and timely data in innovative and equitable policy decision making. NHCD is committed to providing the public and elected leadership with a Strategic Housing Plan, to include community housing goals, priorities, and strategies for investment and tracking mechanisms to monitor outcomes. The plan will serve as a framework for policy discussions aimed at developing solutions to address Austin’s affordable housing needs.
Elizabeth A. Spencer