Nonprofit wins $4 million to fund more affordable housing

Foundation Communities, a nonprofit that builds affordable housing in Austin, announced this week that it was the recipient of a $4 million grant from the federal government to fund more affordable housing.

The grant came from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Financial Institutions Fund, which awarded more than $90 million in grants for preservation, rehabilitation, development and affordable housing in low-income communities. Foundation Communities was one of 32 grant winners in the country and the only winner from Texas. More than 120 applications were filed.

Walter Moreau, the executive director of Foundation Communities, said the grant will help fund some of the group’s existing projects as well as projects on the horizon.

“We’ve been in Austin for 26 years and our waiting list has never been longer. In some places it’s more than a year,” Moreau said. “Austin has become so expensive that even if you’re employed but your household income is only $30,000, finding housing is difficult. A lot of lower-income families are moving and people are being priced out.”

The group has three projects under construction: Bluebonnet Studios on South Lamar Boulevard, Live Oak Trails in Oak Hill and Lakeline Station, a 128-unit apartment studio in Northwest Austin. Moreau said the grant comes at an opportune time because having three ongoing projects has stretched the group’s resources.

Some of the money from the grant will go toward making up a funding gap on existing projects, but some will help buy land for projects in 2017 and 2018.

Construction for the Lakeline Station apartments should be completed by November and residents should be moved in by the end of the year, Moreau said. Most of the units in that project, an approximately $20 million complex near the Lakeline commuter rail station and a bus transfer center, will be priced in the $700 per month range and 13 units will be set aside for families that are struggling with or on the verge of homelessness.

People interested in applying to live at the Lakeline Station apartments can find more information at Lease applications should be available in the next few weeks, Moreau said.

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