Vision 2020 continues forums on rental housing

Published 10:45 am Monday, July 28, 2014

Vision 2020 is gathering more input on rental housing and renter needs.

The community improvement initiative held another rental forum for residents on Sunday to hear perspective on Austin’s housing issue.

“Overall, we’re hearing from folks that they like having a forum to get their perspective heard,” Vision 2020’s Director of Vision Creation Laura Helle said.

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The city has struggled with rental issues over the past few years.

The Austin City Council approved a draft rental ordinance that would require property owners and landlords to register with the city and take an educational class on owner and renter rights. Though the council has yet to formally approve the ordinance, council members are close to enacting a rental registration almost three years after they voted a similar ordinance down.

In addition, a recent demographic study showed an increase for housing across the board over the next few years as Austin’s population grows.

Vision 2020 first held a rental housing forum in March, where about 50 people shared their views on how to solve existing issues with Austin’s rental housing, from poor choices to low rental quality to bad tenants and more. Since then, Vision 2020 has held several rental housing forums, including one for Spanish speakers last month.

Helle said last month’s meeting was well attended, though the meeting over the weekend only brought in a handful of residents. Vision 2020 may also hold another forum for Sudanese residents to share their opinions soon.

Though rental housing isn’t part of Vision 2020’s Top 10 Goals, Helle said the group decided to call attention to the issue as a way to let residents give input to city leaders. Vision 2020 will likely post the results of their forums online and share more information with city and county officials as more people attend the forums, Helle said.