Austin High Tech Step Up! Help Fund Affordable Housing in Austin

Austin High Tech Step Up! Help Fund Affordable Housing in Austin

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Affordable Housing For Austin started this petition to Austin High Tech Industry and

Buoyed by more than $100 million in economic incentives over the past 14 years, Austin's high-tech industry has grown rapidly and generated more high-paying jobs than any other industry in the City! 

In 2018, high tech accounted for about 16% of total employment but almost 31% of total payroll in Austin.  The average high-tech salary of $125,000 in Austin is more than twice the median household income of $55, 216 in Austin.

A family earning an annual salary of $125,000 could afford a $500,000 home or about $4,300 monthly rent in Austin.  A family earning the annual median family income of about $45,000 for Black and Latino families in Austin could afford a $120,000 home or about $1,550 monthly rent. 

Given the median price of over $405,000 for a home and median monthly rent of  $1,770 in Austin, low-income families and families of color cannot compete with higher income families for housing in Austin.

Just like Seattle and San Francisco, the influx of high paying high tech jobs in Austin has unwittingly contributed to surging housing costs in Austin and resulted in involuntary displacement of thousands of low- and middle-income families whose incomes have not kept up with rapidly escalating housing costs. 

Hundreds of affordable workforce apartments were demolished and hundreds of low-income families and families of color were displaced to make way for Oracle’s campus located on prime waterfront property along Lady Bird Lake in East Austin.  These low-income families and their community-based small businesses were displaced by high-income families and high-end businesses. 

The total combined market value of just eight high tech companies in Austin (Amazon, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Samsung, Google, IBM, and Oracle) is over $4.232 trillion!  That’s more than 6 times the total combined wealth of about $700 billion for the bottom 50% of households (62 million households) in the US!

Microsoft acknowledged the impact its high paying high tech jobs had on the affordable housing crisis in Seattle and pledged $500 million to help preserve and build new homes for low- and middle-income families.   

Apple recently announced that it will provide $2.5 billion to fund affordable housing programs in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and other cities in California.

Thousands of low-income families have been displaced from Austin over the past decade. City data indicates that an additional 262,896 households in Austin are at risk of displacement. That means over 577,580 Austinites are at risk of displacement largely due to lack of affordable housing.

We call on Austin’s high tech industry to commit at least $2 billion to fund the following programs that directly help low-income families, communities of color, and small local businesses:

  • The Peoples Plan.
  • Rental assistance, deposit assistance, mortgage assistance, down payment assistance, and home repair.
  • Income-restricted affordable housing produced by local community development corporations including Guadalupe Community Development Corporation, Montopolis Community Development Corporation, and Rosewood Community Development Corporation.

None of the $2 billion should be used for market-based density bonus programs because they produce relatively few income-restricted housing units and facilitate development that results in substantial loss of existing housing affordable to low-income families, particularly families earning at or below 60% median family income.

Thank you!

Affordable Housing For Austin

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