Houston Housing Authority Hoping To Find Buyers Who Are More Well-To-Do

HOUSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY HOPING TO FIND BUYERS WHO ARE MORE WELL-TO-DO The Houston agency charged with providing affordable housing options has come up with an interesting response to criticism that it’s been giving the runaround to low-income applicants trying to buy the more than 200 homes it has for sale. Potential buyers and real estate agents tell Fox 26’s Randy Wallace that the Houston Housing Authority “would constantly make requirement changes even with verbal and written contracts in place.” As a result, the authority has only closed on 7 of the homes in the last 6 months. Too late to be included in the TV report, HHA Vice President for External Affairs Dennis Spellman sends Wallace a letter with some exciting news! The organization has decided to do away with income requirements for its Scattered Sites home program. Yes, that means that low-income applicants earning less than 80 percent of the area’s median income will now have the opportunity to bid against more well-off buyers for the same properties. [MyFox Houston, via Texas Watchdog; HHA response letter (PDF)]

3 Comment

  • Anyone involved in the attempt by Houston Renaissance to “revitalize” Fourth Ward isn’t surprised by this. Unfortunately the Attorney General’s Office has no authority over it since it is based on “loopholes” HUD put in place during the administration of George W Bush. Affordable housing is now available to all. Preferably those who don’t need it. But love a good deal just the same.

    And don’t hold your breath for our new mayor to condemn what’s coming down the pike because she has continued to turn a deaf ear to everyone in Fourth Ward.

  • How much more affordable would living in the city of Houston be if we were not paying taxes to support this agency?

  • Most of the money to fund these agencies comes from the federal government. Administrative expenses are generally small compared to the overall budget. The lion’s share of the budget for HHA is in HUD Section 8 vouchers ($120 million annually if I recall). Keep in mind that there is only about $40 million of HUD money for programs implemented under the entire City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department consolidated plan. (HCDD is different from HHA)

    As someone who has studied this, selling houses to any household that makes less than 70%-75% of the median income (80% for smaller households) does not usually end well. This partially how we got into the subprime mess in the first place. I know that HHA has had a terrible time selling these houses and the LARA program at the city has not done much better. I personally have no problem with them selling these houses as long as they are able to do so within the HUD guidelines without massive taxpayer subsidy. Selling the houses recoups the taxpayer investment capital, freeing it up for other uses. Selling the houses in a manner that is not acceptable to HUD results in ‘findings’ which do end up costing taxpayer money.