Austin City Council discusses Phase 2 of HOME initiative

A public hearing for Phase 2 of the HOME Initiative was picked up on Thursday morning. 

Phase one of HOME, also known as the Home Options For Middle Income Empowerment Initiative, was passed by Austin City Council in December 2023. 

Phase one allows three homes to be built on a single property. Four months later, council is now considering passing phase two.

"The primary goal of the HOME amendments is to create more housing options that are attainable for more Austinites," said Laura Keating with the Project Connect Office.

Council was brief on the details of HOME Phase 2. This phase does not change what was passed last year, this just focuses on reducing the minimum lot size from 5,750 square feet to 2,000 with a goal of more housing.


"The proposed changes for phase two will allow similar types of development as phase one, 2 or 3 units on an existing lot, but goes the extra step of allowing these lots to subdivide without these changes. If 2 or 3 units are built on a lot and sold separately, they are owned as condominiums," said Keating.

After the presentation, the public had their say on this initiative.

"This plan isn't perfect, I'll say that, but this is progress," said one speaker.

The speaker was a UT senior who is for HOME Phase 2. She claimed it would give those who did not have housing options before some hope.

"I'm asking you, on behalf of all graduates here who are graduating, maybe they want to be teachers. Maybe they want to be health care professionals. They want to serve their community. I'm asking you to give them options. And with options, that just means freedom," she said.

Other speakers claimed HOME is a developer’s dream that could result in no affordable housing at all.

"Policies like HOME accelerate gentrification, and we've seen it happen in East Austin, where affordable single-family housing used to exist. HOME will deny working-class Austinites a sense of security, the dream of homeownership, and a chance for upward mobility for themselves and their children," said one public speaker.

No action was taken on HOME Phase 2. The plan is for council to vote on this item on May 16.