Frequently Asked Questions


About Foundation Communities

What is Foundation Communities?

Foundation Communities is a local, homegrown nonprofit. Founded in 1990, we provide affordable, attractive homes and free on-site support services for thousands of families, veterans, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. We offer an innovative, proven model that empowers our residents and neighbors to achieve educational success, financial stability, and healthier lifestyles. We own and operate 18 communities all over Austin and in North Texas.

How much are rents at Foundation Communities?

Our rents vary at each community and are based on household income and availability, but they are generally about $200-$400 less per month than what you’d find in the regular housing market.

How long can people stay at Foundation Communities?

Our housing is permanent as long as residents continue to meet our income guidelines. For many, our housing offers an affordable place to live while working toward their long term educational, financial, and health goals. For others, like those on Social Security or receiving disability, our housing offers a permanent, safe housing option that is affordable for someone on a fixed income.

What are some of the free support services Foundation Communities offers?

We provide free on-site support services for our residents in the areas of education, financial stability and health.

Education: Foundation Communities serves over 700 kids through our free after-school program each year. The kids in our program consistently outperform their peers in the classroom and last year had an average GPA of 3.3. In addition, we offer adult education to increase literacy and life skills with ESL and college prep courses.

Financial Stability: This past year, Foundation Communities completed 20,000 tax returns for working families at no cost to them – putting $36 million back into people’s pockets – and back into the local economy. Foundation Communities also offers free one-on-one financial coaching, scholarship mentoring, and courses in money management and home-buying.

Healthy Living: Our healthy living initiatives include fitness and nutrition classes, access to integrated mental health and primary care, substance abuse counseling, smoking cessation support, and community gardening. Recently we launched a new program, Insurance Central Texas, to enroll hard-working families and individuals in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Where does Foundation Communities get its funding to build new affordable housing?

To build new affordable housing we depend on a mix of public and private funding. Public funding is administered through transparent, competitive processes at the local, state, and federal levels, and includes Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, City of Austin Affordable Housing Bonds, and support from agencies like the Federal Home Loan Bank and NeighborWorks America. Private funding includes foundations like the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, and Meadows Foundation, as well as capital investments from individual donors. We often also have a private bank mortgage, but we minimize our debt in order to keep rents low for our residents.

How does Foundation Communities maintain its operating budget?

We generate between 70-80% of our annual operating budget through the rents our residents pay. We raise the additional 20-30% of our funding through grants from government, corporations, and foundations, as well as through individual gifts, pledged at our annual Welcome Home Luncheon or donated through various online fundraising campaigns throughout the year.

What makes Foundation Communities unique? 

We attribute our success over the last two decades to our housing plus support services model and the following key elements:

Sustainable-Nonprofit Model: About 80% of our budget comes from the aff­ordable rents our residents pay, which cover operating expenses for our communities.

Environmental Commitment: We invest in green building initiatives to save on operating costs, reduce residents’ utility bills and make our community a better place to live.

Volunteer-Powered: Our programs are made possible in large part by more than 2,000 committed community volunteers.

 

How You Can Get Involved

How do I find volunteer opportunities for myself or a group?

We have volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups in the areas of education, financial stability and health. There’s something for everyone! To learn more and sign up for an opportunity, please visit our Volunteer page.

How do I make a donation to Foundation Communities?

Please visit our Donate page to give to Foundation Communities.

I have some furniture, clothing or household items I’d like to donate. Can you use these items?

If you have items you no longer need, please consider donating them to Goodwill, Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul. They are our valuable community partners.

 

Live at Foundation Communities

How can I live here?

  • Meet specific income guidelines
  • Pass criminal and credit checks
  • Have a good rental history

What do I do first to find housing at a Foundation Communities property?

Please visit our Housing In Austin page or Housing In North Texas page and select the property that best meets your needs. We have communities for families and single adults. Contact the community you are interested in and be prepared to tell them your exact income and the number of people in your household. If there are no vacancies, you may be able to sign up on a wait list or you can call another one of our communities to check availability.

How much is the rent?

Our rents vary at each community and are based on household income and availability, but they are generally about $200-$400 less per month than what you’d find in the regular housing market. Please call the community you are interested in and inquire about their rental rates.

Is there a limit to how long I can live at one of your properties?

Our housing is permanent as long as residents continue to meet our income guidelines. For many, our housing offers an affordable place to live while working toward their long term educational, financial, and health goals. For others, like those on Social Security or receiving disability, our housing offers a permanent, safe housing option that is affordable for someone on a fixed income.

 

Support Services

What kinds of support services does Foundation Communities offer?

We offer FREE onsite support services for our residents in the areas of Education, Financial Stability and Health. These services include After-school and Summer Learning Programs for children, English as a Second Language classes for adults, financial stability programs like Free Tax Preparation, One-on-One Financial Coaching and College Financial Aid Assistance, and health programs such as fitness and nutrition classes and help with Health Insurance Enrollment.

Are your services available to non-Foundation Communities residents?

Yes, many of our services are available to our neighbors and the larger Central Texas region. You can find out more about the services we offer by visiting our Education, Financial Stability and Health Insurance Enrollment pages. Looking for information on Free Tax Preparation? Click here.