By Mayor Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt
When considering our community’s access to opportunity and prosperity, Austin and Travis County have much to celebrate — but also much work to do.
Though we learned with last week’s release of the Community Advancement Network’s annual Dashboard Report that unemployment in Travis County has declined by more than 50 percent since 2012, we also learned that 25 percent of black and Hispanic families in the county live in poverty, as compared to only 10 percent of other families. Continue reading
If we’re going to manage growth in a way that makes Austin a more affordable place to live, we’re going to have to have a clear-eyed talk about housing and housing supply — where we build it, where we preserve it, where we keep it affordable, and how we make it easier to remodel and to build the housing stock we need. That’s why the Austin Strategic Housing Plan, which the City Council will get a chance to approve next week, is such an important opportunity to make sure there’s a place for anyone in Austin regardless of income.
Housing is what takes the greatest chunk out of most family budgets in Austin, and it’s a big reason why we are the most economically segregated metropolitan area in the country. The stakes could not be clearer: If we do nothing, Austin will become like San Francisco, a wonderful if incredibly expensive city with a median home price over $1 Million where only the wealthy and the subsidized can afford to live. We will lose our middle class to suburban sprawl, making traffic even worse and losing the spirit and soul of our city. If we do nothing except preserve our beloved two-bedroom bungalows, we’ll soon have a bunch of $1 Million two-bedroom bungalows. Continue reading