Jesse's role : Organizer, Austin Interfaith, Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)
Project : Affordable housing residents create model redevelopment
"It turns out that a lot can happen when people start paying attention. Under the ever-watchful oversight of Austin Interfaith, developers wanting to redevelop the Section-8 Oak Creek Village Apartments recently struck a deal with existing tenants that many are hoping will serve as a model for other developers. With a Housing and Urban Development contract set to expire, and developers eager to capitalize on prime Bouldin Creek real estate, things didn't look good for the current residents.
But now, though the project is still waiting on federal tax credits (another steadily diminishing resource), developers have agreed, privately, to retain every affordable housing unit that would be lost, relocate tenants if needed during construction, and maintain the new affordable units for the next 35 years. If they fail to provide the promised affordable units, they cannot exercise the entitlements granted by the revised zoning.
Housing advocates hope the Oak Creek project will serve as a model, one that promises to benefit developers, increase density, and retain affordability in the urban core. "This kind of thing is what we need in Austin, if we are going to maintain any level of deeper affordability in Austin," noted Planning Commissioner Danette Chimenti. "This is precisely the kind of project that we need."
-Elizabeth Pagano, The Austin Chronicle
For more information, visit: Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)
About the project:
Residents of Oak Creek Village, 173 affordable housing units threatened by redevelopment, saved their homes in Austin, Texas. In the process, they developed an innovative restrictive covenant between their newly formed Tenants Association and the property owners. The covenant protected the residents during reconstruction, and created provisions for childcare, a community center, extra security and a better relationship with management in the renovated housing. Through a major citywide campaign, they prevented redevelopment until the agreement was signed. In doing so, they not only saved their homes, creating a new model for affordable housing and positive gentrification, they built the power to shape their city. They are still working together.
Press for Oak Creek Village
As Austin Becomes More Expensive, Some Fight to Keep It Affordable, Austin American Statesman pdf
Oak Creek Village Strikes a New Deal, Austin Chronicle
Oak Creek Village Redevelopment Approved by Austin City Council, Community Impact News
Exiled From Main Street, Austin Chronicle
Video Testimony of Leaders at City Hall, Austin City Council Recorded Session