In preparation for our July Board meeting, I wanted to seek your feedback on the next phase of our “strategic reset” discussion. As a reminder, it is our current expectation that we need to be ready to make proposals to the Court at our August joint meeting.
At our June Board meeting, there was interest in creating more detailed proposals (1) focusing on social housing financing and (2) advancing a targeted program addressing a sub-population that is adjacent to the County’s criminal justice responsibilities (e.g. individuals exiting the criminal justice system).
In the coming month, I am confident we can get to a fairly detailed social housing proposal for the Court’s consideration. There are a variety of existing and emerging models in the U.S., and some are a good fit given our Chapter 394 powers and legacy housing finance operations. In addition to being a fit for our existing capabilities, the economics are closer to self-sustaining and more capable of rapid scale than many of the traditional below-market-rate, subsidy-centered approaches (e.g. our LIHTC portfolio). This may be appealing to the Court given its many funding obligations. An additional benefit is that it can address the permanent housing affordability vision laid out in our Rosemont Investment Plan resolution, as well as other policy statements from SHFC.
As for our “subpop” proposal, I’ve hit a bit of a wall.
There isn’t an “off the shelf” report or granular data relevant to Travis County that can help us formulate this idea in a data-driven way. One option might be to offer to split the cost with the County to conduct a study and actually develop an “off the shelf” plan that is based on a rigorous assessment of needs and gaps. An even broader option would be to offer to partner with the County to develop a version of the City’s “Strategic Housing Blueprint” to formulate countywide affordable housing policy including the lane for each of the affordable housing vehicles it influences, Countywide unit targets, and the “off the shelf” plan for sub-populations that are of special interest to the Court.
Please let me know if you have feedback on how to proceed. Otherwise, I will keep working with staff to prepare drafts of a social housing proposal and a sub-populations study proposal. Both will be for your review. We will not be taking action or adopting a direction at our July meeting.