And what that means is that the apartments -- which have been neglected and horribly maintained for years now has an owner who cares and who wants the property to be maintained. It also means that our people who have been able to rent in this neighborhood now have to travel farther and farther outside Austin to find locations where renting is possible.
I heard a statistic last week from Angelica Noyola (a very helpful neighborhood advocate) that the City of Austin is at 97% occupancy and that 73% of the population of Austin rents. That's a huge number. That means that if you are a home-owner in this city you are in the minority by a lot. Why is it that we believe that the "normal" Austin person owns a home? The truth is that the typical Austin person rents. And why are we giving such a voice in our City planning processes to homeowners and business owners and not actively seeking to hear the voice or renters? They are the majority of our residents.
How do we, as the church, seek to help the city maintain places where poor people can live in decent housing that is not beyond the reach of someone who works full time at a minimum wage job and is a single parent? Today, even as I am grateful to be working with a landlord that wants to protect their renters, I am wondering what God is calling us to do to protect the poor.