Category: Mayoral Debate

What Does Affordability Mean In Austin?

It isn’t news to anyone who lives here—Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. With the daily influx of new patrons to the area, housing prices continue to skyrocket while availability of affordable housing rapidly shrinks. But what does “affordable” really mean? Government standards define housing as “affordable” if a family spends less than 30% of their income on rent. Austin has the highest average rent costs in the state, at about $1,050 for a two-bedroom apartment. The average rent for a two-bedroom in cities around the rest of Texas is about $867. However, one must look at more than housing costs to determine the affordability of a city. Childcare in Austin can cost up to $16,000 a year—that’s about the same price as a year of in-state tuition at the University of Texas. Considering the median household income in Austin is less than $60,000 a year, this means more than a fourth of a family’s income is spent on the care of just one child. That leaves little left for gas, groceries, healthcare, and all of life’s other necessary expenses. For example, let’s say one Austinite is working a job where they make minimum wage at $7.25 an hour. This person would have to work 111 hours (about three full-time jobs) a week just to pay for their two-bedroom apartment. 65% of Austin residents are dissatisfied with the cost of housing.  Voters passed a $65 million bond measure last year that aimed to create affordable housing options. However, most […]

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Austin Mayoral Debate Recap

Five Austin mayoral candidates tackled affordability, early childhood education and the need for high quality childcare and after school programs on Wednesday at the newly re-opened Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. Catherine Morse, general counsel/director of public affairs at Samsung Austin Semiconductor and board chair for UWATX, moderated the debate, which was attended by more than 300 people and featured candidates Todd Phelps, Councilman Mike Martinez, Randall Stephens, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Steven Adler. Below we’ve provided the entire debate on video. Take a look to learn how each candidate stands on United Way for Greater Austin’s key issues: [youtube]http://youtu.be/G0JcRuC9zGs[/youtube]   David Orshalick, a candidate not in attendance, provided his answers in writing. Ronald Culver, another candidate not in attendance, also provided his responses in writing. Please click on each man’s name to view their responses.  A big thank you to our host committee and Balcones Resources, our title sponsor, for making this event possible. Who do you think provided the best answers in this week’s debate? Let us know in the comments or tweet us with hashtag #uwatxdebate.

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