Charged with providing affordable public housing, the Houston Housing Authority is pulling out all the stops. All 171 remaining houses from its failed “scattered sites” public housing program intended for low-income families will now be offered . . . to the public. At auction. Included: the home shown above, sporting a Hurricane Ike-era blue roof tarp. Plus: 3 vacant lots! Where did all these amazing properties come from?
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The city bought them from HUD in 1987 and 1988, with the goal of fixing them up and renting them to public-housing tenants as a bridge to home ownership. By 2004, only about half of the original 365 houses had sold. So the authority began moving the remaining tenants out of their homes — under the theory that the properties, located throughout the city, would sell better if they weren’t occupied. But from 2007 to this year, only 27 of the properties sold. The rest have sat vacant and untended, despite considerable demand, as Chronicle reporter Yang Wang noted earlier this year — including a citywide public-housing waiting list 40,000 names long.
If you’ve got the cash or a check, though, these potential tenants and buyers’ loss could be your gain! The auction is scheduled for November 12 at the Marriott Westchase Hotel at 2900 Briarpark. Nonprofit organizations are invited to participate in the fun too! National Residential Auctioneers promises that the properties will sell to the highest bidder.
- Troubled city-owned homes hitting the block [Prime Property]
- Program’s empty promises leave poor without homes [Houston Chronicle]
- 170 + Homes Across Houston [National Residential Auctioneers]
- Previously on Swamplot: What Counts for Public Housing in Houston