Keep Austin Affordable, a group organized to support the affordable housing bond on the ballot this November, has posted some impressive fundraising figures. Over the past three months, the group raised $200,000. That’s on top of the $87,000 that it raised during the first half of the year.
More than half of the money has come from developers that specialize in affordable housing. The biggest chunk is $125,000 from nonprofit developer Foundation Communities, a beloved local institution that has built a considerable amount of housing aimed at people making 60% or 80% of the median family income.
Then there’s $25,000 from LDG Development, a national for-profit developer that specializes in affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity also forked over $15,000, as did the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation, a local nonprofit developer. O-SDA Industries, a local firm that guides affordable housing developers through the regulatory process, gave $5,000.
Then there were a bunch of other general real estate folks:
Austin Board of Realtors: $15,000
The Drenner Group, Steve Drenner’s eponymous lobbying firm, known for representing deep-pocketed developers at City Hall: $10,000
Realty Austin: $15,000
RedLeaf Properties: $2,500
UrbanSpace Real Estate: $2,100
RR Property Management: $10,500
Ledic Realty Company, an Alabama-based property management firm: $5,000
Capstone Title: $2,600
John Burnham of Cypress Real Estate Advisors: $5,200
Blazer Building of Texas: $1,500
DMA Development: $5,000
Finally, there were some nonprofits that work on general housing or anti-poverty issues, such as Meals on Wheels, which gave $7,500, Caritas of Austin, which gave $1,500, Affordable Central Texas ($1,000) and the Austin Housing Coalition ($1,000).
I obviously understand why affordable housing developers or anybody involved in development and construction would have an interest in a bond. That’s money that will likely find its way into their coffers. It’s harder for me to understand why realtors or property managers would have much of an interest in the bond. In the case of ABoR, however, its leaders have made a point of pushing the organization in a more progressive direction, including by supporting paid sick leave etc.