AUSTIN, Texas — The impacts of Texas’ current housing crisis are limitless.
Renters are struggling to find apartments, homeowners are dealing with huge spikes in property taxes, landlords are trying to stay afloat, builders are suffering from inflation and real estate agents are overwhelmed with buyer competition.
There are many perspectives, and Blake Carter has multiple. One of the homes he’s showing in Cedar Park is valued at nearly $2 million. The real estate agent has clients competing for homes double what they would sell for a few years ago.
“If I have a client walking around with $250K in their pocket, then, you know, sure we can find you a house,” Carter said.
While he’s showing fancy houses now, his life hasn’t always been million-dollar listings.
His mom Juli was in real estate prior to 2008. Then the housing market crashed and they lost everything, including their home. They couch surfed for several years, staying with friends or wherever they could find.
“We were struggling to pay for food and to live,” Carter said.
Making lunch together, a regular part of their routine, they recalled what little food they could afford.
“You can take a whole shopping trip at the Dollar Tree,” Carter said.
They managed to crawl out of the crisis when his mom found a new career. She works for a restoration company that helps people rebuild after disasters. At first, Carter was afraid of getting into real estate because of what it did to his family. But he realized he learned a lot about the housing market from his experience. Now, living in another housing crisis, he’s thankful he’s not in the same situation.
“I can’t imagine having to go through what we went through now with how unaffordable everything is,” he said.
Today, their family has come full circle. They went from being homeless to homeowners. Carter helped his mom find their dream home in Georgetown.
“Getting into a rough, almost terrible place, and then building it back up has been super sweet,” Juli said.
But not everyone has been so lucky, which Carter and his mom don’t take for granted. Together they started the nonprofit ServeInspire! to help the homeless.
“We realized we wanted to give back, and once you go through something like that you can’t help but have like extreme empathy for people who are in a similar or worse situation,” Carter said.
What started as an idea to donate their Thanksgiving meal is now a 501(c)3 organization.
"We’re working towards free mental health care and free life skills training for the homeless, to really help people out of that situation and like help them progress in their life,” said Carter.
This mom and son’s happy ending is when everyone has a place to call home.