AUSTIN, Texas -- A group of community leaders held a forum to tackle gentrification in Austin and how proposed policies could make it even worse.
• Community not Commodity believes Austin's land development CodeNEXT will displace low income families
• The PODER plan includes a low income housing fund, use of city owned land for low income housing, and priority housing
Opponents of Austin’s proposed CodeNEXT project held a community forum to discuss the threat of gentrification to East Austin communities.
The group Community not Commodity believes Austin's land development CodeNEXT will displace low income families and drive up the cost of living. They brought together leaders and activists to promote their own plan for the city.
PODER stands for People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources, and founder Susana Almanza is one of the leaders that helped create the plan.
“We unveiled a six-point people’s plan saying here are things the city council can implement now in order to mitigate displacement and gentrification,” Almanza said.
Their plan includes a low income housing fund, use of city owned land for low income housing, and priority housing for those displaced by new development.
Founder of Preserve Rosewood, Fred McGhee said he believes working with policy makers is key in solving Austin’s housing crisis.
“Only government can tackle this issue and that’s what we’re looking for," McGhee said. "A robust government response."
A different group stood in protest outside of the forum. Activists from Defend our Hoodz who believe the opposition won't do enough to stand up for low income communities. As emotions ran high outside the forum, inside community leaders discussed their plan to protect the community.
“The market structurally cannot provide housing that is safe decent and affordable for low income families,” McGhee said to a crowd of community members.
Thursday, Austin City Council will vote on taking the proposed People’s Plan to the city manager. They say it's the next step in keeping Austin the way it is.