From Council Member Casar (District 4): housing desegregation, backyard cottages, fair chance hiring, tenants relocation and office hours
This month, the District 4 team has been working harder than ever for policies to get Austin off the top of the list of most economically segregated cities in America. We know that it's going to take a long, community-wide effort, but this month we took big strides forward!
Prioritizing housing desegregation in City development rules
Last week, I introduced a resolution in the City's Housing Committee to support as many affordable housing options as possible in our new land development code (known as CodeNext). This action will further commit the City to Fair Housing in order to give low-and moderate-income residents the opportunity to live in high-opportunity areas in Austin. The full Council will vote on this resolution in early December.
Eased restrictions on backyard cottages to expand housing opportunities in Austin
A majority of the Council voted last week in support of making accessory dwelling units (known as backyard cottages, granny flats, or ADUs) easier to build in Austin. A recent report commissioned by the City of Austin identified heavy restrictions on ADUs and other small housing types as impediments to fair housing and contributors to housing segregation.
After more than a year of discussion on how ADUs can be offered as a housing option to help reduce sprawl and give more everyday Austinites an opportunity to live in all parts of the City, I'm especially thankful that the majority of Council supported this initiative.
Fair Chance Hiring moves on to full Council
This month, the Council's Economic Opportunity Committee voted to support a Fair Chance Hiring ordinance for all private employers in the City of Austin. This comes after months of discussions with people who have difficulty being considered for jobs because of conviction histories. We also won support of many business leaders and non-profits. The full City Council will vote early next year on this groundbreaking ordinance.
Providing stronger safety nets for tenants
Earlier this month I co-sponsored a resolution with Council Member Renteria to initiate the creation of a tenant relocation policy. This policy will require that developers give renters several months’ notice before the demolition of their homes, along with a requirement for monetary support to low-income tenants who could wind up homeless because of such redevelopment.
This policy is a part of our larger effort to make sure Austin's growth benefits working class residents, instead of harming and displacing them.
Last office hours for 2015!
Our last District 4 Office Hours for this year will be held on December 4 from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Little Walnut Creek Branch Library. If you would like to meet, please contact Shelby Alexander at 512-978-2157 or Shelby.Alexander@austintexas.gov to set up a 20-minute appointment.