Council gave its blessing Thursday to an application for low-income housing tax credits issued through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, for the redevelopment of a 62-unit affordable housing project to be known as the Oaks on North Plaza.
Such approvals are generally routine and members of the public rarely show up for the public hearings on the financing.
But Lanell Espinosa, a member of the tenants organization at the Oaks on Lamar, another property managed by the same company, Related Affordable LLC, addressed Council members, telling them that Related had worked with her tenants organization at her complex as well as two other complexes.
“We have all had problems with Related and how they treat tenants,” Espinosa said. She said the tenants organizations had been meeting with Related, Council Member Greg Casar, the Austin Housing Authority and the tenants organization BASTA! “to get commitments on how they will improve our properties.”
She concluded, “It hasn’t been easy, but we’re glad the Related management is finally acting in good faith to address our concerns and concerns of the residents at other properties they own and to make our property a better place.” She said they had reached a written agreement to improve conditions.
Casar said tenants of several properties brought serious concerns to Related, noting that they had a lengthy meeting.
“It showed the very important work of how when tenant associations bring their issues to the forefront and work with the city and the housing authority and private partners, that we can make things better for everyone.”
He noted that the project is in his district and that the city would be watching to make sure Related keeps its promises to the tenants.