According to a story in the Houston edition of Community Impact, Harris County is planning a strategy to attempt to influence housing tax credit applications to get more applications approved for affordable housing desperately needed in the area. Officials have had difficulty getting the majority of such planned communities approved due to letters of opposition by area state legislators. The letters carry a heavy weight in the scoring process that developers are subject to when competing for housing tax credits. In 2019, there were three applications submitted for affordable housing tax credits in an area of Northwest Houston known as Cy-Fair. Two of those three housing tax credit applications were denied after opposition from two state representatives — State Rep. Sam Harless, R-Spring, and state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress.
While each state representative have indicated they are acting on behalf of their constituents who do not want affordable housing communities built in the area, the move adds to the heavy affordable housing shortage Houston has struggled with for many years that was further exacerbated by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
In order to influence housing tax credit applications, Harris County will start passing resolutions of support for certain affordable housing communities that are in the housing tax credit application process. The goal is to provide input to Houston city officials about development planned for the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction in an attempt to prevent city officials from denying support, declaring these developments “dead on arrival.”