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First Affordable Housing Community In Downtown Austin in 45 Years

Updated: Friday, June 13 2014, 06:18 PM CDT

The cost of living in Downtown Austin is about to get more affordable. A new apartment complex is going up one block from the Texas Capitol at 11th and Trinity streets. Rents at Capital Studios top out at $665 dollars a month. 

Another apartment complex under construction in Downtown Austin.  On the surface, it's nothing special. 

"I feel like I'm getting a second chance at life," said musician Evan Johns. He is a resident at another Foundation Communities affordable housing complex. 

Johns knows affordable housing like this, can be life changing. 

"I don't have to worry about somebody breaking in and stealing my guitars," said Johns. 

On Thursday, Foundation Communities took KEYE TV on a hard hat tour of the first affordable housing community in Downtown Austin in 45 years. 

"It's challenging. There are not many sites where it will all work out, but it's still possible," said Walter Moreau, executive director of Foundation Communities. 

Construction is underway on 135 furnished efficiencies with rents ranging from $400 a month to $665. Twenty-five percent of the units are reserved for the homeless and 10 units are set aside for musicians and artists. 

"And the other 101 apartments are just for hard-working folks that make less than $13 an hour and want to be part of Downtown Austin," said Moreau. 

Fourteen other affordable housing communities, like Capital Studios, are scattered around Austin. What they offer goes far beyond low rent. 

"I have a case manager who helps me out. There's a free food pantry I use monthly. Utilities are paid," said Johns. 

Capital Studios also puts residents within walking distance of many jobs in the hotel, restaurant and entertainment industries. 

"I am once again the luckiest man I've ever known," said Johns. 

Capital Studios is a $20 million public/private partnership. Residents will start moving into the downtown complex in the fall of 2014.

By Bettie Cross

First Affordable Housing Community In Downtown Austin in 45 Years

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