Nashville and Austin — two very comparable cities known for their southern twang. Massive growth, country music, top bachelor/bachelorette party destination, rising prices, big affordable housing need. This is probably why the annual Intercity trip hosted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce was in our twin music city earlier this month. A few of our top executives attended the trip, which is meant to bring exposure to best practices and lessons learned in other communities about issues that are also impacting Central Texas along with other local business leaders, NPO reps, and elected officials.
This year topics such as education, healthcare, diversity, equity & inclusion, and addressing homelessness were on the agenda, so there was plenty to do over the 3 days! We sponsored the Workforce Development session, which brought up some very important ideas for the betterment of the Austin economy. We thrived most amidst the affordable housing conversations though, naturally! Housing prices in Nashville are increasing at 3% a month, higher than the national average of 2.1%. And, as you could’ve guessed, wages are not increasing at the same pace. They need 45,000 units for families earning below 80% MFI over the next few years to avoid displacing long-time residents.
Affordable housing and homelessness housing are challenges both cities face. Austin does seem to have better solutions like the funds that have been approved by Travis County, but there is still much to be learned and approved upon.
“We were proud to be a part of this intercity trip once again and both participants and sponsors,” our president, Nhat Ho, said. “We are deeply invested in the success of Austin and all the surrounding areas. Going on this trip is a way for us to learn how other areas deal with growth. Our commitment isn’t just to attend a trip like this. It is to take the best ideas and help put them into action in Austin to ensure our home is the best it can be for all people.”
Apart from the seriousness, we had a great time catching up with old and new friends that are equally as passionate about making Austin a better city for everyone as we are. We ate good barbeque, visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (of course), and walked a bit more than we were used to! Next year will be hard to beat!