Community Powered Workshop is launching The Alley Flat Initiative Anti-Displacement Pilot project. Community Powered Workshop, an Austin-based nonprofit, in partnership with board member and UT planning academic Jake Wegmann, was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from UT’s Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR). The grant will fund The Alley Flat Initiative Anti-Displacement Pilot project (Pilot Project), and its activity will be concentrated in the first two quarters of 2022. The purpose of the grant is to build on CPW’s existing Alley Flat Initiative and further promote the construction of Accessory Dwellings Units (ADUs), or small housing units co-located with single-family houses, by homeowners of moderate incomes.
The Pilot Project will conduct targeted outreach to homeowners residing in three Austin neighborhoods currently undergoing strong gentrification and displacement pressures: St. John’s, MLK, and Montopolis. CPW has identified about 1,100 longstanding owner-occupants in these areas who are potentially eligible for the Pilot Project. Participating homeowners will receive assistance from CPW in navigating the architectural design, permitting, contracting, and other processes needed to bring an ADU project on their properties to fruition. The homeowners will also receive training in financial planning and property management and assistance with tenant selection in order to prepare them to be successful ADU owners and to maximize their ability to build wealth.
The research component of this “learning by doing” study will involve interviewing the participants in the program repeatedly in order to identify, dismantle, and learn from the barriers to ADU development that they encounter. CPW fully expects the results of the study, to be documented in a written report, to be useful in informing revisions to ADU policy and programs in Austin and in other similar cities nationwide.
Austin took a major step in 2015 with an ordinance that has yielded a sharp increase in ADU production. CPW’s Alley Flat Initiative Anti-Displacement Pilot will contribute to the next phase of a flourishing of ADUs in Austin. Our vision for the near future is for the production of ADUs to increase still further, and for their benefits to be brought to a wider audience, including homeowners fighting to stay in their homes in the city’s gentrifying neighborhoods.