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GHA Empire Building!
by Jacquelyn Tarpy
07 October 2009

The Galveston Housing Authority is apparently surprised by all of the attention they are currently receiving. Let’s explore what may have created this sudden Community interest.

Prior to Hurricane Ike, according to the GHA website, they were responsible for the operation of approximately 900 units of Public Housing which included:

569 Public Housing units (25 of which are scattered housing)
359 Senior Pubic Housing units
20 Elderly Duplex Units 

948 total Public Housing Units

Plus the Administration of:
1,213 Section 8 Vouchers

For a total of:
2,161 Housing Units

Now let’s take a look at GHA’s Post-Ike Development Plan according to Mr. Krishnarao’s presentation to City Council on:
January 8, 2009  Part 3 - 00:32
March 12, 2009  Part 1 – 29:24
Commissioner Raymond Lewis’ presentation on
April 9, 2009  Part 1 - 01:34  

Based on the information that has been presented to the public via City Council meetings and GHA meetings, in addition to the 2,161 Pre-Ike housing units, GHA is proposing to:

160 units   New site 1   
140 units   New site 2    
200 units   New site 3    
100 units   New site 4     

1,000 Cottages - In-fill, new construction

40 New homes for low-income seniors at The Oaks

300+ Section 8 Housing Vouchers - for Katrina & Rita evacuees

For a total of:
1,940 Additional Housing Units

GRAND TOTAL: 4,101 Housing Units

This would amount to a 90% increase in GHA/Government provided or subsidized housing on Galveston Island!

There are two other factors that will effect the continued growth of GHA:

1. The Galveston Housing Authority has applied for a 40 million dollar grant which will be used to purchase five city blocks  for additional developments. (This was reported by a person who attended the GHA Public meeting on August 31) We requested the minutes and audio tapes on September 1, from this meeting, to verify this information, we are still waiting.

2. The Vision of Galveston’s Mayor, who has sole responsibility for the appointment of the GHA Board of Commissioners, is quoted in the GCDN September 15, 2009 article:
“But Ike changed the housing authority just as much as it changed the island”, she said.
“Now the agency must become a partner with the city to build houses for everyone who lives on the island, she said.
“My intention is to recognize the housing authority as a partner of the city of Galveston, as an investor, a developer, an entity that can make Galveston a better place to live for all people,” she said.

The Galveston City Council and the people of Galveston should insist on a thorough examination of how well the GHA has managed the Public Housing Projects and Section 8 Voucher Program over the last several years, before they are allowed/encouraged to increase their empire. Also, before giving the nod to Mr. Krishnarao for any new development, the GHA Board of Commissioners should take some time to study the effect these policies will have on the entire City of Galveston. The Commissioners should be there to represent the community's interest, not to just rubber stamp Mr. Krishnarao’s vision for Galveston’s future. 

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