‘City-Funded Chaos’: Concerns Raised About North Austin’s Affordable Housing Units
AUSTIN (KXAN) — People living near a north Austin property formerly known as Raintree Apartments — now called Redfield 34 Apartments, though that’s not listed on the building — say after the city of Austin and the ECHO secured the property for affordable housing , it became dangerous.
Neighbors say they’ve witnessed drug use, prostitution, theft and shootings, among other problems. They say a man was shot and sent to the hospital as recently as Wednesday.
“He pulled out a gun and shot this guy and then, of course, then we went for cover because we don’t want to accidentally get hit by a stray bullet,” Parker Case, who lives a few houses down from the complex and became a witness to the shooting said.
Case is one of several neighbors we spoke to Friday who said they regularly witness crime, so much so that some have considered moving. They also say no one seems to be managing the property or providing services to the people who live there. Several of the blocks appeared to have been broken into when KXAN visited Friday.
“We’re afraid to go out because we just don’t know who we’re going to meet,” Case explained.
A spokesperson for the city of Austin said they are aware of people’s concerns about the property and said in part:
“Current activity on the property violates the terms of the agreement with the property owner to acquire and renovate the property for affordable housing. Over the past several weeks, the city and AHFC (Austin Housing Finance Corporation) have been working with the property owner to make the necessary improvements.”
KXAN reached out to a property owner, Russell Artman, who said he didn’t think he had enough time to comment before our deadline. If he provides one, we’ll update this story.
We reached out to the Austin Police Department early Friday morning and did not hear back by deadline Friday evening. We also spoke to an ECHO spokesperson who said that while it helps provide housing for people experiencing homelessness, it is not directly involved in managing the properties or housing people in those units.
Neighbors are asking if there are people living in the city who have become homeless, that they provide services to set them up for success. They also want the city to make sure there are regulations related to affordable housing so it doesn’t interfere with other people living in the area.
“We want people to have resources if they want to get benefits from the government, so that way it’s not just city-funded chaos,” Case said.