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Affordability is discussed a lot in our community. How do you define affordability?

Vincent Harding

City Council, District 1

Affordability is nuanced. Housing, shelter, health care, food, and the ability to get around are some of the basic things that everyone needs. At minimum, affordability is the ability for everyone to access these things. I will seek to address affordability in at least few main ways: Income, Housing, and Infrastructure. 1) Housing – The goal of “the market” is to make money. “The market” will not voluntarily create affordable (less profitable) housing without any sort of incentive. Thus, local government entities must use the budget and bonds to build both affordable and low-income housing by working with nonprofits and private businesses to raise money for these sorely needed developments. Further, supply and demand economics impact housing costs. Additional housing supply will help to slow down the rate of price growth. Missing middle housing can help to provide less expensive housing options and could help to increase transit supportive density. 2) Income – I want to help people make more money through job education and training programs at low cost to no cost. This combined with low cost to no cost childcare is pivotal in helping people reach higher income brackets. 3) Infrastructure – Transportation and utility costs are critical aspects of affordability. Improvements to mass transit may increase the viability of car-free living, lowering the overall cost of living in Austin dramatically. Additionally, less wait times and faster commutes for mass transit will also give more time to individuals who have no option but mass transit to get around. Moreover, seeking to provide energy efficiencies in new builds to improvements in existing homes can result in lower utility costs.