04/21/17 5:15pm

SUNNYSIDE PASSED OVER FOR LIST OF HOUSTON PLACES THAT ALWAYS GET PASSED OVER Complete Communities pilot areasThe Texas Low Income Housing Information Service released a statement right after Mayor Turner’s Monday announcement on the Complete Communities program questioning why Sunnyside didn’t make the cut, Steve Jansen reports this week for the Houston Press.  Despite the neighborhood’s oft-heralded blight resume (it made the LARA team during Mayor White’s time in office, and even got rolled into its very own tax increment reinvestment zone last year, a distinction theoretically reserved for “unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted” areas), Sunnyside didn’t make the list of the first 5 pilot neighborhoods for the new program, which so far looks like it might shuffle existing development money toward the targeted areas without adding any new cash. The statement, coauthored by a Sunnyside-area civic association leader, notes that the neighborhood even has a ready-to-go redevelopment plan that’s been in the work for the past few years.  [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Map of pilot areas for Complete Communities program: City of Houston

04/18/17 2:30pm

WOULD IT BE EASIER TO BRING THE ‘HIGH OPPORTUNITY’ AREAS TO THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, INSTEAD? Proposed Housing Development at 2640 Fountainview Dr., Briargrove, Houston, 77057Yesterday Mayor Turner announced a few more details of a plan to redirect federal and local money toward some of the city’s low-investment areas, starting with Acres Homes, Gulfton, Second Ward, Northside Village and Third Ward, writes Rebecca Elliott for the Chronicle. The “Complete Communities” plan, Elliott notes, was mentioned in the city’s response to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which sent the city a letter in January finding that the nixing of that Briargrove mixed-income housing project was racially motivated. That letter instructed the city to move forward after all with the cancelled project (or one like it, in a different ‘high opportunity census tract’). A city lawyer wrote back, telling HUD that part of Houston’s plan to address the Department’s concerns is to “transform previously neglected neighborhoods into neighborhoods HUD would define as ‘high opportunity.’” Yesterday’s details didn’t include a price tag or timeline; Turner did mention possible partnerships with private groups and developers.  [Houston Chronicle; previously on SwamplotImage of previously proposed apartments at 2640 Fountainview Dr.: Houston Housing Authority