Syeda Hasan | KUOW News and Information

Syeda Hasan

Syeda Hasan is a general assignment reporter for KUT News. She previously worked as a reporter at Houston Public Media covering county government, immigrant and refugee communities, homelessness and the Sandra Bland case. Her work has been heard nationally on public radio shows such as “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.”

She got her start in public radio as an intern at KUT while earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a minor in French, at the University of Texas at Austin where she served as a reporter for the Daily Texan student newspaper.

Since the city released its first draft of a new land development code earlier this year, residents and city leaders have been working to understand how it will shape Austin neighborhoods.

In Hyde Park, residents have adopted a tool that both regulates development and aims to preserve the historic neighborhood’s character, but some say this exempts the area from having to follow the new code.

This may be the most anxious time of year for affordable-housing developers in Texas. In a few weeks, they'll find out whether their applications for low-income housing tax credits have been approved, and the decision could spell life or death for their proposed projects.

For many Austin artists, finding affordable space to create is an enormous concern. The Austin City Council is set to consider a plan Thursday to help them out.

Government officials and community activists from across the state gathered outside the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to voice support for taking legal action to stop the so-called “sanctuary cities" law.

The federal housing choice voucher program, which used to be called Section 8, is aimed at helping low-income families meet their housing costs. Here in Austin, it’s one way the city is trying to meet the growing demand for deeply affordable housing. 

For much of her life as a homeowner, Joan Reames never noticed the drainage charge on her monthly utility bill. Then the city revised the system in 2015. 

Reames said the monthly fee for her condo complex suddenly increased by more than $2,000. The city bills her homeowner’s association and then the cost is split among the residents.

For the past several months, the city's Visitor Impact Task Force has been exploring new uses for the millions of tax dollars brought in by Austin hotels. The group also has to contend with a host of state and local regulations that govern how exactly the money can be spent.

The city plans to exhume and rebury human remains found last year by a construction crew working at Oakwood Cemetery in East Austin.

Block 87, also known as Trinity Block, may be the last undeveloped city block in downtown Austin. A parking lot currently sits there, but a high-rise is slated to go up.

For years, residents of the Cross Creek Apartments in North Austin have been complaining about poor living conditions. They say they continue to pay rent while living with broken windows, poor security and a lack of hot water, among other issues.

The Austin City Council approved the strategic housing plan Thursday, though the document is now being called the strategic housing “blueprint.” It calls for the construction of 135,000 more housing units by 2025, with 60,000 of them being affordable.

After hours of debate last night, Austin City Council gave final approval to one of this year’s most divisive zoning cases. The Austin Oaks planned unit development, or PUD, will bring new housing, retail, office space and parkland to the current site of an office park near Spicewood Springs Road and MoPac. Last night’s vote was 8-2. 

Next month, Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital will close its doors for good. Patients will be transferred to the new Dell Seton Medical Center just across East 15th Street. That means the spacious, and centrally located, Brackenridge campus will be open for new development. But the incoming tenant will have to contend with a unique feature of the property, something buried beneath the surface of the old hospital.

The release of Austin’s first-ever strategic housing plan has both faced scrutiny and garnered support at public meetings in recent weeks. The plan aims to address the city’s growing affordability crisis by setting goals for new housing production. Austin City Council members are set to vote Thursday on whether to adopt the plan, and they’re proposing some changes to make the implementation process smoother.

For Austin visitors, it’s hard to beat the iconic view of the Texas Capitol from Congress Avenue. But for those who live and work along the corridor, the streetscape could use some improvements. 

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