I’m here with the content ya’ll crave — at look at what happened last week at #atxcouncil when @CM_Renteria surprised people by moving to award development rights at a city-owned site in East Austin to GNDC, even though their’s was the second place bid. https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2020-09-25/eastside-housing-proposals-blow-up-at-council/
The story is especially interesting, because the ciry owns (through the Austin Housing Finance Corporation) 28 sites that will likely go through a similar solicitation process. Here’s some of them, but AHFC has purchased more since this memo was published. http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/pio/document.cfm?id=328797
There was a fierce organizing effort in the week leading up to the meeting that resulted in speakers declaring the process contributed to systemic racism. Part of that was rooted in a mischaracterization of what was actually proposed at each site...
But staff admits to mishandling parts of the solicitation process — their first time for AHFC sites reserved for affordable housing. At one point, a housing dept staffer basically agreed with organizers that the process unintentionally contributed to systemic racism.
Part of that mishandling was on the backend of things (how the RFP was drafted and how communities were engaged), but some of it was just a lack of information. Proposal details from losing bids were not shared until the day of the meeting when @GregCasar asked for them.
But NHCD (soon to be Housing and Planning) director Rosie Truelove told me things will change before the next solicitation, so there is likely to be less confusion and frustration among people wanting to build affordable housing and the people living in communities where it’ll go
One thing I didn’t have space to get into but is relevant for these two sites specifically is that eastside activists worked with Laura Morrison in the at-large days and to reserve them for future development...
...but the city has just been sitting on them. Eastside activists like Daniel Llanes helped secure those sites, so they feel a sense of ownership over them and felt like their priorities were overlooked in the solicitation process.
An important detail on the ownership component in the GNDC proposals https://twitter.com/conorkenny/status/1309177899430313985