Nonprofit Foundation Communities’ Homestead Oaks Apartments is helping to create economic opportunities for families in a highly desirable area of southwest Austin, Texas. The 140-unit development is located in a high-income, high-opportunity community and is close to jobs, amenities, and top-performing schools.

Featuring on-site supportive services, including health initiatives and adult education, as well as an 8,000-square-foot learning center, Homestead Oaks Apartments includes one-, two-, and three-bedroom units for households earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income. Ten percent of the units are set aside at market rates.

The learning center is the hub of the community, serving up to 80 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The nonprofit works with local schools to tailor academic support for each child. The program runs for three hours per day during the school year and six hours per day during summer.

Fourteen of the development’s families are part of the nonprofit’s Children’s HOME Initiative, which helps combat poverty. These families are coming out of homelessness or have extremely low incomes and receive 18 months of wraparound supportive services from case management to a specially designed financial program.

Homestead Oaks is an infill project located on one of the last remaining parcels, which was formerly a homestead and a horse farm, in this community. While the development site runs 29 acres, the project is built on less than four acres due to its location in an aquifer recharge zone. The design team preserved over 500 oak trees on the property.

In addition to its small building footprint, the development has a small carbon footprint, as well. Foundation Communities pioneered new green efficiencies, including centralized heat pump water heaters and individual solar arrays tied directly to each unit, which is expected to provide families with utility bills 40% to 50% lower than at a conventionally built property. The development is expected to receive LEED Gold certification.

“We have a really holistic philosophy of creating housing that we’re never going to sell, that’s sustainable, that’s designed with health and education services right at a resident’s doorstep,” says Walter Moreau, executive director of Foundation Communities.

The $25.5 million development was financed with 9% low-income housing tax credits, city housing bonds, and a Department of Housing and Urban Development Sec. 221(d)(4) loan. It also received an Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and foundation funds.

Project Details

Developer: Foundation Communities
Architect: hatch + ulland owen architects
Major Funders: Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Department of Housing and Urban Development; Dougherty Mortgage; city of Austin; Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs; Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco