December 2020 Issue
Mayor Turner announces plan to restore urban prairie
Conservationists have long pointed to the Greater Houston area’s disappearing prairie ecosystem as one of the causes of urban flooding during heavy rains and storms.
Groups such as the Katy Prairie Conservancy work to protect and restore upstream grasslands, and now a new initiative announced by Mayor Sylvester Turner on Nov. 30 aims to do the same in Houston’s core.
October 2020 Issue
Texas GLO to take control of $1.2 billion in Houston’s Harvey funding
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) just received approval to take back $1.2 billion in funding that had been given to Houston to aid with recovery from Hurricane Harvey. This action was followed by claims that Houston did use the funds in a timely and efficient manner.
August 2020 Issue
Houston announces second round of rent assistance, passes on eviction moratorium
- The city will allocate $15 million to help tenants pay rent
- Houston’s first $15 million in rent assistance ran out in 90 minutes
- This time the city will evaluate applicants rather than take a first-come, first-served approach
Dian Street Villas project in Houston awarded housing tax credit
- The developer, Texas Inter-Faith Housing was awarded a 9% housing tax credit for the development
- The tax credit is worth $1.5 million annually over a 10-year period
- The development will include 108 unites, 96 of which will be meant for low-income renters
- State Representative Anna Eastman wrote a letter of support for the project
- The City of Houston has also conditionally pledged $11 million from the Community Development Block Grant it received in 2017
February 2020 Issue
Transit Adjacent Development & Neighborhood Change in Houston
The Kinder Institute released their report, Transit Adjacent Development & Neighborhood Change in Houston. The report looks at whether or not transit investments and transit adjacent development (TAD) that follows will impact gentrification patterns. Current residents fear being displaced by revitalization of city infrastructure and subsequent development. Houston is considering one of the largest road changes in recent years with the North Highway Improvement Project, which provides for the expansion and movement of Interstate 45 in the downtown area. Equally, Harris County launched a mobility study in July 2019 to address congestion on local roads. Increasing affordable housing supply is one way to help reduce potential displacement while still providing transit-connected communities.
October 2019 Issue
Next Step for Hurricane Harvey Funds
In August, HUD released mandatory rules for the use of more than $4.3B in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds for mitigation projects related to Hurricane Harvey as well as for the 2015 and 2016 floods. The funding is to help homes and neighborhoods protect themselves against future storms. With the rules in place, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) will now move forward in drafting and getting approval for a state action plan. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush says the process will state at least nine months, which will include at least 45 days for public comments and for lenders to hold public meetings on the proposal. See previous plans here.
August 2019 Issue
The City of Houston is undergoing the development of its five-year Consolidation Plan 2020, which outlines its long-term goals and objectives for improving housing, public facilities, infrastructure, and quality-of-life for low- and moderate-income residents. This plan is required by HUD to receive federal funding through its programs, such as CDBG and HOME. To learn more about the current and past plans, please click here.