Case Study

Travis County Develops 2,000 Units of Housing to Address Homelessness

Guidehouse assisted Travis County, Texas, with program design and management, financial analysis, real estate project review, and compliance oversight as part of an ongoing project.

As part of the U.S. federal government’s response to the complex challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, was issued to provide funding directly to states and localities to address pandemic challenges including the investment of water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, surface transportation projects, and Title I projects. This program provided a critical and more flexible resource for jurisdictions to leverage to meet the needs of the pandemic.



Travis County, Texas, home to the City of Austin, was facing a crisis in homelessness, which was compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. In response, Travis County initiated a new financing program designed to provide housing solutions for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. This program, funded by SLFRF, was executed in partnership with social and human services-focused nonprofit organizations, and utilized a diverse range of traditional funding sources to fill project gaps. These funding sources included the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and rental subsidies via housing choice and project-based vouchers. Securing federal funding for new construction development marked a new approach for Travis County and the partnering nonprofit organizations. In addition, Travis County needed to align with a range of state and local housing finance partners and funding sources in order to execute a timely and compliant program.



Travis County turned to Guidehouse to assist with its program design, program management, policy interpretation, financial analysis, real estate project review, and compliance oversight of the County’s new construction development project, the Supportive Housing Initiative Pipeline (SHIP). Guidehouse provided support during the planning phase by interpreting policies related to using SLFRF, creating a methodology and framework for project review and evaluation, and providing ongoing programmatic advisory. Once the team established a framework to determine whether the real estate development projects were ready to receive public funds, Guidehouse reviewed all financing, affordability, and real estate documents and supported Travis County through the closing of loan funds. 

Guidehouse completed a Benefit-Cost Analysis for one of the complex transactions undertaking a new state affordability structure. Guidehouse leveraged its Financial Services team to analyze the public costs and benefits of the project. As new policy considerations arose, Guidehouse conducted research on national leading practices and federal requirements and applied these models and subject matter expertise to meet the needs and objectives of Travis County, resulting in updated program terms.

Additionally, Guidehouse was selected to oversee the progress and compliance of the program during the construction phase. The team developed a user guide for partners during the construction process; conducted regular site visits; submitted required reporting checklists; and ensured that the project adhered to labor and wage standards, safety requirements, cost compliance, and monitoring. Guidehouse experts reviewed invoices for subrecipients and contracts, streamlined communications, and worked to address reporting and communication challenges. 



Because of the early collaboration with Guidehouse, Travis County will be able to invest $110M in SLFRF in SHIP. SHIP will fund 11 projects that will create over 2,000 units of affordable, supportive housing to address homelessness. Units will be restricted to affordable rents, and many tenants will receive rental subsidies to allow for reasonable monthly payments. Some of the projects under construction include:

  • Juniper Creek – 110 apartment homes for low-income families, developed by Foundation Communities
  • Community First! Village – 640 apartment homes for adults who are experiencing chronic homelessness, developed by Mobile Loaves and Fishes
  • Cairn Point at Cameron – 80 apartment homes for low-income families and adults experiencing homelessness, developed by Caritas.

Each project will leverage a unique structure to provide critical supportive services onsite to individuals and families, such as case management, peer support, housing navigation, medical and mental health services, and job training. Guidehouse will continue to work directly with the partnering nonprofit organizations, oversee the construction monitoring, and coordinate activities after closing for Travis County’s SHIP. The SHIP homes are set to be completed by the end of 2027.


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