AUSTIN, Texas – Austin Community Foundation announced today a $4 million impact investment in the form of a low-interest rate loan to Austin Habitat for Humanity to help accelerate the construction of 150 single-family homes at three sites. The $4 million loan provides bridge financing to Austin Habitat with a 2% interest rate and a two-year term. The sources of funding for the loan include a combination of grants and impact investments from Austin Community Foundation, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, St. David’s Foundation, Bill Wood Foundation, Shield-Ayres Foundation, the Aragona family, and a group of donor-advised fundholders at the community foundation.
The first project to be supported by this funding includes 30 Austin Habitat homes built in partnership with Austin Independent School District and Taylor Morrison, the developments are Park at 51st and Loyola. The second project includes 120 homes to be built by Austin Habitat in Southeast Austin.
“Tito’s Handmade Vodka has called Austin home for more than 25 years,” said Amy Lukken, Chief Joyologist, Tito’s Handmade Vodka. “During that time, we’ve supported hundreds of nonprofits throughout Central Texas as they address growing needs in our communities, like affordable housing. The Austin community means so much to us, and we’re grateful to everyone who’s a part of the Austin Community Foundation funding collaborative for coming together to help build 150 affordable homes.”
“Research shows us that health begins at home – a stable home where individuals can flourish,” said Edward Burger, president and CEO, St. David’s Foundation. “As our region continues to grow, the shortage of affordable housing has become a significant barrier to achieving optimal health. We believe there are workable solutions to address the housing crisis and this funding collaborative demonstrates how, holistically, we can advance health equity and create opportunities that promote optimal health across our community.”
Households making 60-120% of the median family income in Central Texas, such as educators, healthcare workers, and arts professionals earning between $58,000 and $118,000 a year, will be eligible to apply through the Austin Habitat program. These homes will be deed restricted to ensure long-term affordability and eligibility of ownership. The projects are expected to break ground later this year. Homes will be sold for around $250,000, far below the current median sale price of approximately $615,000, according to the June 2022 Austin Board of Realtors Market Report.
“If we are going to make any dent in the affordable housing crisis in our region, we must work collaboratively across government, private and philanthropic sectors to deliver innovative and nimble solutions,” said Mike Nellis, president and CEO, Austin Community Foundation. “This funding collaborative in support of Austin Habitat for Humanity demonstrates the critical role philanthropy can play in pooling resources and maximizing impact. We look forward to more opportunities like this in the near future.”
Last year, Austin Community Foundation highlighted the need for philanthropic investments to address the region’s affordable housing crisis by publishing a report outlining potential strategies to produce, protect and preserve affordable housing in Central Texas. This collaborative effort of pooled capital announced today is one example of how philanthropy can help bridge the gap in funding affordable housing projects — creating pathways to homeownership for people driven out of Austin due to skyrocketing housing costs.