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87-unit affordable apartment complex could be coming to West Campus

Caritas of Austin is partnering with The Vecino Group to secure funding for the West 24th Street property.

AUSTIN, Texas — An affordable apartment complex is in the works for West Campus.

The proposed development would be located at 911-915 West 24th Street. 

Caritas of Austin, a nonprofit that works to end homelessness, said it has partnered with a developer, The Vecino Group, and is working to secure the funding to build an 87-unit apartment complex that Caritas says will be "deeply affordable."

Caritas said 25% of the apartments will be dedicated to people who have experienced long-term homelessness. The other 75% will be leased to people with varying needs of affordability and social support.

It said all of the apartments will be priced for people whose income is about $33,000 or less. 

There would also be wrap-around services available for those staying at the complex. The services would include things like case management and eviction prevention.

On Tuesday, University Area Partners held a meeting where Caritas of Austin and developers presented information about the proposed development. 

Dozens of people showed up and voiced concerns and asked questions. 

"Why is there no priority or anyone fighting for students who want to live in close proximity to the university," asked Joell McNew, SafeHorns president, ahead of the meeting. 

Two of the main topics were questions regarding why not many people had heard about the proposed plans and why this plan is not focused on affordable student housing. 

"A really big concern that we have is a lot of people in the community are not even aware of it. People who we've talked to have no idea that this is happening," said McNew. "And just like anything else in Austin right now, I think including people in the conversation is very important for people to understand firsthand what these projects are and what it means to the community." 

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McNew attended the meeting on Tuesday, along with others from the community who included parents of students, people who live nearby the property and local business owners. 

Lisa Gray is the assistant manager and stylist at The Cut Hut, a local business that sits on the proposed site of the apartments. 

Gray said she was shocked when she first heard about the plans. 

"It's a small business. We serve the community, and we want to know what's going on in our community and where we work," said Gray, who explained she'd heard a little about the plans. 

Gray said none of the developers have spoken to her about what could happen. 

She said, if the plans happen, it wouldn't be the first time the business has had to move. Gray said it used to be located across the street, but it had to move about a year-and-a-half ago because of an apartment complex being built. 

Caritas of Austin issued this statement in regards to the proposed apartments:

"Austin has a severe lack of deeply affordable housing with only 21 affordable rental units available for every 100 extremely low-income renters. Caritas of Austin has partnered with a developer, and is working to secure funding, to develop an apartment community of 87 deeply affordable units at 911-915 W. 24th Street. The development will be designed to seamlessly integrate into the surrounding neighborhood fabric with high-quality construction and aesthetically pleasing architecture.

Seventy-five percent of the apartments will be leased to individuals with varying needs of affordability and social support. The remaining 25% of the apartments will be dedicated to people who have experienced long-term homelessness. All of the apartments will be priced for individuals whose income is $33,150 or less (50% of the median family income)."

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