In June, the ACBA began a partnership with Evolve Austin, a united coalition of civic-minded organizations dedicated to ensuring the implementation of the Imagine Austin comprehensive plan. Imagine Austin is a community-driven set of directives compiled by the City to make Austin a more affordable, mobile, and sustainable city. Encouraging cooperative development is identified as a goal in several key areas of the Plan, which has been critical in our recent successes passing policy recommendations through City Council and the Economic Prosperity Commission. We look forward to working with Evolve Austin to further our City-level advocacy efforts on behalf of our membership. Find out more.
With the CodeNEXT drafting process in full swing, the ACBA needs as many dedicated volunteers as it can get to help us fight for the future of Austin co-ops. Our efforts over the next year will affect cooperative development in Austin for decades to come - there's never been a more vital or important time to get involved with co-op advocacy. One of the great things about being a co-oper is that we already know that when we come together, we can accomplish so much more than we ever could on our own. With that in mind, we're inviting the dedicated movers and shakers of the co-opsphere to join our Co-opNEXT Organizing Team!
With Austin in an affordability crisis, our future development has been limited to some of the most expensive parts of the city. Under the current draft map, it's going to take a lot more money than it did before to start a new co-op house. While cooperative housing tends to be the most affordable in its neighborhood, new co-ops will be limited to some of the least affordable parcels of land in the city, where we’ll be competing with profit-driven (and very wealthy) developers. So much for “affordable housing.”
As a coalition of cooperative and cohousing advocates, we consider the current CodeNEXT draft definition for cooperative housing use (see Chapter 23-2 2M-2, page 5) as inadequate for the needs of Austin’s existing cooperatives and future cooperative development. For over 50 years in Austin cooperatives have provided permanently affordable, dignified housing options. If we are to meaningfully address affordability options in Austin we must use all the tools at our disposal to combat rising housing costs and concentrated development that feeds gentrification. Proven affordability models such as cooperatives must be allowed access to a wide range of potential development options.