A Program Centered on Reinvestment and Empowerment

After losing 20,000 people in the decade from 2000-2010, the Austin neighborhood was rich in housing opportunities, but in need of resources. An analysis of community needs showed that residents wanted programs that help long-term owners and improve housing stock without displacement. The OPRHC and other nonprofits have programs in place designed to provide new housing options, improve economic opportunity and empower residents.

Expanded Financial Assistance

Austin Ascending provides grants that help owners make repairs and upgrades to their units that bring them back into the market. This results in increased housing options, improved housing stock and improved financial stability of traditional residents. In addition, contractors are hired locally to ensure the money used to rehab the units is reinvested in Austin.

Austin Advantage expands the successful West Cook Advantage (WCA) program by targeting low- and moderate-income households looking to purchase a home in Austin. This program provides eligible buyers with $10,000 down payment assistance on fully rehabbed homes in Austin. The assistance is provided as a forgivable loan recorded at closing and forgiven over five years.

Community Empowerment

  • The investment in the housing stock is understood as a signal of the economic and social value of the community.
  • Homeownership workshops and landlord training equip participants with the information necessary to take on leadership roles and work on solutions to issues in their neighborhood.
  • By prioritizing efforts in the blocks currently undergoing business development, our strategy is meant to provide a complete community in which residents can live, work, and shop in the neighborhood.

Reinvestment Without Displacement

  • As a community driven program, bi-monthly meetings of our Community Advisory Panel hold us accountable and ensure effective communication across the community.
  • Quarterly meetings with partners evaluate program goals and progress as well as build connections between our partners and community leaders.
  • The risk of unwanted gentrification from new investment in the community is mitigated by directing available funds to traditional resident and business owners.
  • The program is designed to prepare the community to remain self-determined.