HUD, HACA announce 300 new housing vouchers

Hundreds of new vouchers will soon be available to Austinites in need of housing assistance.

"The Secretary and I are grateful to see our funds in action today," said HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman. "We have to house people first and then be able to give them all the services and wraparound help that they need. It's a powerful model. It works across the country and I'm excited to see it come to life here." 

Using funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) will be providing 300 new housing vouchers with 100 designated specifically for homeless veterans.

"Each of these properties, once the units are ready, will also provide critical, supportive services to these individuals and to the families to ensure that they stay successfully housed," said Michael Gerber, CEO of HACA.

Vouchers allow residents to only pay a portion of the cost of rent.

"Project-based housing choice vouchers are a highly effective way of reducing homelessness and housing instability for our most vulnerable low-income families," said Mayor Kirk Watson. "Research shows us that housing vouchers contribute to lifting people out of poverty, reducing racial inequity and providing the compassionate helping hand that so many of our neighbors may need."

The vouchers will be distributed to multiple housing projects throughout Austin.

"Our housing voucher award will support people ages 55 and older who are transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing," said Jo Kathryn Quinn, president and CEO of Caritas of Austin. "We expect to break ground this summer, yielding 150 additional units of supportive housing for Austin and Travis County, and these vouchers are such a critical part."

Projects receiving vouchers are listed below: 

  • Austin Housing Finance Corporation (City of Austin): 10 VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers for veterans, Country Inn Hotel Conversion
  • Caritas of Austin: 30 project-based vouchers and 20 VASH vouchers, Cairn Point property
  • Elizabeth Properties: 25 VASH vouchers for veterans, Kensington Apartments
  • Family Eldercare: 25 project-based vouchers and 10 VASH vouchers, Real Gardens
  • Foundation Communities: 30 project-based vouchers and 20 VASH vouchers, Burleson Studios; 10 project-based vouchers, Skyline Terrace
  • Lifeworks: 25 project-based vouchers, The Works at Tillery
  • SAFE Alliance: 30 project-based vouchers, Lancaster; 25 project-based vouchers, The Sasha
  • SGI Ventures: 25 project-based vouchers and 15 VASH vouchers, The Roz

However, as some doors open to those in need of housing assistance, other doors are shutting.

The Salvation Army announced last month it would be closing its downtown shelter on March 15th. On Thursday, angry shelter residents and advocates for the homeless community held a press conference in response to the news.

Mayor Watson said Friday’s announcement could potentially benefit those residents as they consider "all sorts of options."

"It’s an unfortunate thing that Salvation Army has done here, because we already have a population of people living homeless that we're trying to address and this adds to that," said Mayor Watson. "But we're going to be looking at a variety of options, including the potential for the use of vouchers to help get people into places."

According to Gerber, some vouchers will be available within a couple of months. Others may not be available for up to two years if the property isn't built yet.