Houston Mayor Opposes Housing Authority’s Plan For ‘Mixed Income’ Complex
The complex would have 233 units and 23 of them (10 percent of the units) would be reserved for low-income residents.
The HHA planned to build the apartment complex on the 2600 block of Fountainview Drive, about 10 miles west of downtown Houston.
The city wouldn’t need to provide funding to build the complex, but Turner’s main objection is that each unit would cost $240,000 and only 10 percent of the apartments would be reserved for low-income residents.
“Who are we really building for? You are not going to have low-income people in all 233 units, but where is the money coming from? And who really are we then subsidizing?” Turner commented in a press conference held after Wednesday’s Houston City Council meeting.
Turner nonetheless is encouraging the HHA to look for alternative locations in the same area, which is part of the city’s District G. He also wants to “begin a conversation with private apartment owners about making more units available to our public housing clients so that those who rely on the federal government’s voucher program are not limited to living in certain geographical areas,” as noted in a news release the mayor’s press office sent out on August 1st.
“I look forward to working with HHA to accomplish the important mission of providing for fair housing and quality affordable homes in safe neighborhoods near great schools throughout all of Houston,” Turner said in the news release.
The HHA wants the city’s support to obtain $14 million in tax credits.
Lance Gilliam, Board Chairman for the HHA, says they will look for alternative locations, but adds that they “have not foreclosed the possibility of developing that site,” in reference to Fountainview Drive.
In the case of Houston, it is the mayor who appoints the members of the board of the housing authority, but the agency –which manages the Housing Choice Voucher Program– is independent of the city government and is funded by the federal government.
The Fountainview project has been controversial because of strong opposition by residents of the area who mainly argued the complex would worsen the overcrowding in their schools.