Austin Needs Assessment

The current racial inequities in homeownership and entrepreneurship in Austin result from deliberate policy choices rooted in a historical pattern of systemic racism toward people of color and preferences toward White people. While Austin has recently experienced a period of extraordinary economic growth, Austinites of color have not benefited equally from the city’s economic prosperity. The city has become known as a southern Silicon Valley with large amounts of investment capital flowing to fund a robust technology industry in the city. Black and Latinx Austinites are underrepresented in these high- earning industries and are overrepresented in some of Austin’s lowest-paying industries like health care, social assistance, accommodation, and food services. In fact, the city’s very prosperity is driving many of its BIPOC residents out of the neighborhoods where they have lived for generations, as housing costs and property taxes spiral higher.


At the same time, the city has tremendous opportunities and assets to bring to bear in rectifying these injustices and creating a more inclusive, equitable, and vibrant city, including the growing explicit focus on racial equity among city and national leaders, a strong and committed network of nonprofits and philanthropy, a rich cultural heritage, and a wellspring of passionate and talented BIPOC residents. The city is replete with leaders and organizations dedicated to supporting aspiring homeowners and entrepreneurs of color, but a greater understanding of the systemic barriers to both is also needed. This report aims to provide an account of the historical and present-day challenges people of color face when attempting to build their wealth through homeownership and business ownership, as well as recommendations on actions the City of Austin can take.

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