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How would you improve access to affordable housing for both renters and owners in Austin?

Linda O’Neal

City Council, District 9

We need to revisit lease-to-purchase options. Although Austin tried this and failed in the nineties, we can look to Cleveland to get it done right.  Cleveland has the largest lease-to-purchase network, and the program is working. Over 80 percent of those who participated in the program have transitioned into homeownership. Renters earn equity over 15-years and can use that equity to purchase a home.  We also need to invest in community land trusts. Currently Austin is doing this. Residents who qualify can buy a home, but they don’t own the dirt. This helps ease the cost of property taxes and allows residents to earn equity. And finally, we must incentivize local landlords (both commercial and residential) to give longer leases. This is not rent control, this is rent stabilization.  We need to protect renters from steep, unexpected rent increases.