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

I support the federal definition of affordability that states a household should spend no more than 30% of its income on housing costs. I also recognize that other factors contribute to affordability, such as access to transit, which may allow residents to reduce reliance on expensive personal vehicles. For its own affordability programs, the City of Austin uses Median Family Income (MFI) as an eligibility measure. I believe it is also important to use more specific figures in city affordability discussions, including actual unit costs and figures that align with typical jobs, such as the average salary of a pre-school teacher or grocery store cashier. In addition, we should consider adjusting the MFIs for density bonus programs or other city-subsidized affordable housing to reflect the median income where the project will be built if that area falls below the countywide MFI . Under most of the city’s current density bonus programs, a unit is considered “affordable” if a household if a household earning 60-80% of Travis County’s Median Family Income (MFI) pays no more than 30 percent of its income on housing (downtown density bonus programs are calibrated at 80-120% MFI). However, the current MFI levels for Travis County are substantially higher than the median income levels in many historically African-American or Latino neighborhoods, areas currently facing the greatest gentrification pressures. This means when housing is demolished and replaced in these areas, even the few density bonus affordable units that may be realized in a new project will not be within the financial reach of displaced residents. For this reason, I support adjusting MFI eligibility measures in these areas to reflect the actual MFI of current residents.