Austin's freshly minted Comprehensive Housing Market Survey has lots of interesting tidbits. One is this map depicting Austin's concentrations of housing affordable to households earning between 51% and 80% of median family income. (The darker the color, the greater the density of affordable housing.)
I suppose this is no real surprise, but the degree of segregation still is striking. Most cities have pockets of affordable housing concentrated near the city center. Inner city neighborhoods have high concentrations of old housing, and old housing tends to be cheap housing. Mass transit is usually better in central cities, too, and the poor need good mass transit. And, finally, central neighborhoods are usually quite dense, which means lower land costs per unit.
Central Austin, though, has very little affordable housing. Even central east Austin, historically a repository of cheap housing, now has only a moderate density of affordable housing. Affordable housing in Austin instead has been relegated to large, deep pockets in the older suburbs to the north and south; these, incidentally, contain some of the densest census tracts in the city.
A couple of those who commented on my post on the city's affordable housing investment in the Village on Little Texas pointed out that there is already a lot of affordable housing in the area. This map confirms the point. I've marked the site of the Village on Little Texas with a light green arrow. It is in, or at least on the fringe of, one of the largest pockets of affordable housing in Austin.
It's fair to ask whether the city should invest millions to subsidize a relative handful of affordable units in an area that already has market-rate affordable units. Particularly such steep subsidies. The city needs to step back and sort out its priorities.