Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
by David Stanowski
10 January 2012
The GOGP has long maintained that in order to abide by the latest interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, the GHA MUST use a regional approach to site selection for any new Public Housing rather than concentrating all of it in this city. Since the Mayor, and his housing authority, want to build all of the Public Housing in this city, they insist that the Conciliation Agreement forces them to do so, and that they have no authority to build outside of the City.
The GOGP has argued that the Conciliation Agreement merely sets aside money for rebuilding the units lost to Hurricane Ike, without mandating their actual construction or location, and that the GHA needed to ask HUD for assistance to expand its authority in order to build throughout the County. Something that they clearly do NOT want to do!
Then we were told that even HUD did not have the authority to force the County, or the other cities in the County, to accept Public Housing, if they did not want it. We argued that all HUD had to do was to file a Fair Housing Complaint citing the fraudulent Analysis of Impediments produced by the State, which failed to cite the refusal of the County, and the other cities in the County to allow Public Housing to be built in their jurisdictions; which should give them all of the authority that they need.
We also said that HUD, and other federal agencies, could withhold federal funding from the County, and the other cities in the County, until they agreed to a regional, i.e. countywide Public Housing plan.
We have been following a similar situation, for the last few months, in Hamilton County, Ohio, and the settlement that was just reached supports the GOGP road map to implementing a countywide plan!!
After many months, the Hamilton County Commissioners finally approved a deal to expand Public Housing out of the City of Cincinnati and into the suburbs! Like the Galveston County Commissioners, they really wanted to continue to concentrate Public Housing in the City of Cincinnati, however, when faced with a fair housing lawsuit from HUD, and the loss of millions of dollars in federal development grants; suburban Public Housing was miraculously approved!
Commissioner Portune said those grants, which total about $3 million a year, are crucial in tough economic times.
“We could ill-afford to jeopardize that funding,” he said.
The propaganda campaign waged by the local Poverty Industry includes the mantra that the City of Galveston stands to lose federal funds if it does not build all of its developments within the City limits, but once the federal court gets involved, the GOGP has maintained that it will be the State of Texas, Galveston County, and the other cities in the County that stand to lose federal funds due to their Fair Housing violations. Recent events in Hamilton County, Ohio tend to support our position!
Suburban residents in Hamilton County resisted Public Housing, because they feared that it would increase crime and drive down property values. They also said the local housing authority does not do a good job managing the properties that it already owns. These are all very legitimate complaints, but not valid reasons to concentrate all of the Public Housing in the City of Cincinnati that has fewer resources to cope with these problems.
“The dispute with Green Township (suburban Hamilton County) arose early last year when HUD investigators found that the housing authority prevented new Public Housing units from being added in the township for several years.
The housing authority’s former board chairman, Arnold Barnett, is a township resident and was blamed for blocking Public Housing in the community. He resigned last year under pressure from HUD.”
The local Poverty Industry has another mantra that Thompson v HUD, Walker v HUD, Westchester, et al do not apply in Galveston County; i.e. somehow, this county is ruled by a different set of laws. No doubt, they will also say that Galveston County will not have to abide by any sort of Cooperation Agreement like the one just executed in Hamilton County.
However, the article posted on Cincinnati.com said that these “Cooperation Agreements” are common throughout the country, so such an Agreement could certainly be part of the remedy that the federal court may employ to implement a regional Public Housing plan in Galveston County.
Suburban Public Housing Deal Approved!