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Meet Paola. A single mother who works hard to provide a good life for her 12-year-old son.

She and her son enjoy Central Texas for the green spaces and numerous outdoor activities. However, living here has presented challenges and uncertainty due to rising housing costs.

Paola and her son

Over the past year, Paola has worked nearly 80 hours a week as a security officer at a local hospital in order to cover her living expenses. “I’m making decent money for the area working security, and even with that, I have to work overtime. I can’t remember the last time I had a day off [work],” she said.

In Central Texas, 60% of single mother households that rent are housing cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing.¹ Paola has experienced this firsthand as her rent for a two-bedroom apartment continued to rise during the pandemic, making it impossible to cover rent with one paycheck.

However, Paola found a way to provide her family with new opportunities she never thought possible. Paola and her son are among the 38 residents moving into 11 newly-built townhomes in the Mueller neighborhood — Austin Habitat for Humanity’s first multi-family, row house project. The development provides households earning less than 80% of the median family income ($75,500 and below for a family of four) the ability to purchase a home in a desirable neighborhood with family-friendly amenities, quality schools and access to public transportation.

In May of 2020, Austin Community Foundation, in partnership with NI, made a $1 million impact investment in the form of a low-interest rate loan to support the construction of the Mueller townhomes. The loan was made possible through FundATX, the community foundation’s impact investing program that supports projects intended to create a positive social outcome along with a financial return.

The new home at Mueller will allow Paola to reduce her commute to work and provide a neighborhood well-suited for families and children. She’s excited to settle down in Austin, “I’m providing a stable home for my son. He grew up here, it’s all he knows.”

Once they move in, she plans to work less and spend more time outdoors walking the nearby trails and picnicking at the park across the street. While her son has his mind set on adopting a dog.

¹. Women’s Issues are Community Issues – Status Report on Women & Children in Central Texas