Austin City Council approves phase one of HOME initiative

The Austin City Council approved phase one of the HOME initiative after 13 hours of public comment and discussion.

Hundreds of Austinites spoke during Thursday's special called council meeting to vote on phase one of the HOME initiative. The public comment portion of the meeting wrapped up late into the evening and totaled over 11 hours.

Over half the public speakers who spoke expressed opposition to home, also known as Home Options for Middle Income Empowerment, but ultimately it was up to the council to decide.

By a vote of 9-2, phase one of HOME passed, meaning up to three homes will be allowed to be built on single family lots in many areas of Austin. This encourages options like townhomes and tiny homes.


It was an effort passed in hopes of tackling the city’s housing affordability crisis by creating more homes that will be available at a cheaper price for the lower income community.

"HOME phase one is an important step and offers more options, but it's only the first step," said Leslie Pool, the council member who put forward the HOME initiative.

The ordinance takes effect on Dec. 18, but construction under HOME will have to wait until February of 2024.

Two council members voted against phase one of home: Mackenzie Kelly and Alison Alter.

"I hope I'm wrong about the policy outcomes we will see from the majority's decision today, but I think many of our most vulnerable Austinites are right. The benefits of this policy aren't going to trickle down, and the main opportunities this will open up will surely be for real estate speculation and preying on the vulnerable," said Alter.

Phase two of HOME will be put to a vote early next year.