Today BIG RED DOG sponsored the Real Estate Council of Austin‘s monthly Ideas Forum – an event that brings together a panel of experts to discuss topics relevant to local leaders in the development, AEC, and real estate industry. This month’s forum was titled “City at a Crossroads: How Do We Build The Affordable Housing We Need?”
The panel was moderated by Ann Howard from the Ending Community Homeless Coalition (ECHO). Joining her to discuss the region’s homelessness and affordable housing challenges were David Steinwedell from Affordable Central Texas, Sarah Andre from Structure Development, and Walter Moreau, Executive director for Foundation Communities.
Each of the panelists represented a different company or organization with slightly different strategy to help address the affordability crisis in Austin.
Andre’s firm, Structure Development, advises developers from around the country on affordable housing finance and local tax credit processes. Her firm is involved in the Chicon Corridor project for which BIG RED DOG was the civil engineer.
Foundation Communities is a local nonprofit that develops and manages affordable housing projects and also provides support services for its residents. BIG RED DOG has provided engineering services for a couple of these projects, including Bluebonnet Studios and Capital Studios.
Affordable Central Texas is a private equity firm with the goal of purchasing existing multifamily projects and preserving them as affordable for those with 60% to 120% of the Median Family Income.
The panelists urged attendees to band together as a “united front” to help educate community members and policymakers about the impact that CodeNEXT can have on the affordability of housing in this city. The new code must permit more dense development and housing units (across all price ranges) to be built in high-demand areas to prevent sprawl and traffic, promote greater transit ridership, and ultimately meet the goals of the city’s comprehensive plan.