New Housing Provides Hope in Texas

Friday, June 18, 2004

Garden Terrace is the first housing solution designed exclusively for single working adults, retirees, homeless and people with disabilities that meet the top recommendations of housing experts in Austin, and around the country.

[Photo 1: Exterior view of Garden Terrace]
Garden Terrace, formerly a nursing home, now offers a safe place to live for very low income adults.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin reports that a single adult needs to earn at least $10 an hour in order to secure basic necessities. Yet nearly a third of Austin jobs pay an hourly wage of less than $10. Austinites with low wages or physical impairments that leave them unable to work had virtually no housing options until Garden Terrace opened.

"This is an important housing facility for the City of Austin's housing strategy," said Paul Hilgers, community development officer for the City of Austin. "This facility will provide housing, with support services to allow people to live with greater independence and self-sufficiency."

And that is just what is happening, especially in the lives of four Garden Terrace residents. Here are their stories.

The efficiency apartments and supportive services are for adults living alone who have very-low incomes such as the disabled, elderly, veterans, individuals who work in low-wage jobs and people who are homeless, facing eviction or leaving transitional housing.

[Photo 2: Kitchenette]
Each furnished apartment includes a private bath and kitchenette.

The City of Austin provided CDBG funds to a local non-profit for the acquisition and conversion of a former nursing home into an 85-unit single-room occupancy facility. The City layered HUD's investment with additional HOME dollars to complete the acquisition of the project site.

Each furnished apartment includes a private bath and kitchenette. Gas, electric and water services are provided at no charge. Residents are responsible for phone and cable service. Residents share community living areas, a TV lounge, computer lab, full kitchen, and courtyard. Rent is based on income and ranges from $50 to $300 or a maximum of 1/3 of resident's income. Residents must have an income of 50 percent or less of Austin's median family income ($24,900 for a single person or $11.97 an hour).

Residents are encouraged to work with personal mentors who help them set goals to reach their maximum level of self-determination and self-sufficiency in three areas: housing, income and self-care. Participation is free, but not required.

Garden Terrace partners with Austin Travis County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center, Veterans Administration and Caritas Re-Entry. Residents who have case managers with these or other organizations are encouraged to continue to work with them. Resident services also include classes such as computer instruction and job training; social activities; and community meetings.

[Photo 3: Ribbon-cutting ceremony]
Community and government partnerships helped make this $3.2 million project possible.

Garden Terrace, a $4.5 million project, was more than 3 years in the making and the result of community and government partnerships involving housing and social service agencies. It is part of a national movement to end homelessness and contributes to the economic health of Austin.

Utilizing CDBG funds, the City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development and Austin Housing Finance Corporation were the lead funding sources. Other major donors include: Advanced Micro-Devices, Austin Community Foundation, Compass Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Housing Authority of the City of Austin, Houston Endowment, The Meadows Foundation, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation-Rocky Mountain District, Sara and Dick Rathgeber, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Topfer Family Foundation, Travis County, HUD, and Lola Wright Foundation. In addition, many churches and individuals have made donations.


Content Archived: September 09, 2009