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Finding affordable housing just got a little bit easier in Austin. The City of Austin launched a searchable, interactive map showing income-restricted housing units all over the city with just a few clicks.
The map, unveiled Tuesday, asks for the user's annual income and number of people living in their house, revealing a map of affordable housing. The map includes contact info, listed amenities, schools and acceptance criteria.
The database has 491 buildings with 33,067 units total in the database.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are certain median family income requirements that must be met in order to qualify for those developments.
The city had originally intended to create a comprehensive list of those in need of affordable housing, placing them in as units became available, but the idea was abandoned due to needing more data on residents.
The map, which comes in response to a need to effectively connect Austin residents to low-income resources, will be updated continually by a third party.
Unfortunately, the map is not without its shortcomings; the map alerts when there is a waitlist but doesn't let the user add their name to the waitlist and the map does not show vacancies, meaning there is no seamless way to check for available units.
However, HUD is still working its way through the pitfalls. City council member Greg Casar said he is urging fellow staff members to look into how Austin could be more preemptive in connecting those in need to resources that can help.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
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Is it just us, or is the current Austin mask situation confusing? Are we supposed to wear a mask or not, and where? And should we wear one anyway, even if not requested or required?
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