Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
by David Stanowski
04 July 2012
Have you read HUD’s latest threatening letter to the City of Galveston?
This letter stopped just short of threatening to occupy the City with federal troops, and to execute anyone in favor of using portable tenant-based vouchers, to better serve the poor, instead of building more Public Housing units, but shockingly it did NOT demand mixed-income development! How could that be? After all the claims by the prior GHA regime that HUD would not allow Public Housing to be built as it had in the past, why are they simply demanding that 569 Public Housing units be rebuilt?
This letter is just more bluster by a federal agency that consistently demonstrates that it has no clue what Affirmatively Further Fair Housing actually means until a federal judge explains it to them. It’s also ironic for the people of this city to receive such an outrageous threat from HUD on the day that we celebrate our freedom from the tyranny of King George, only to be reminded of the tyranny of this federal agency!
This letter also clearly demonstrates how panicky the local Poverty Industry must be to see that the City now has a Mayor and City Council that is going to do what is best for the City by dealing properly with the poor, and ignoring the Industry's need to make money off of them.
It was interesting to note that at the 04 June HGAC meeting, nine cities in the HGAC region declined the current funding allocations, to their housing authorities, for repair or replacement of Public Housing, and they did not receive threatening letters from HUD.
Why is Galveston the only city receiving threats?
HGAC minutes (see page 2)
On more careful inspection, it is clear that this letter is all about money, and only briefly even mentions compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws in perfunctory boilerplate language, but it does lay out how easily Mayor Rosen can defend his position by stating, "the City is required to certify to the State and HUD that it is complying with civil rights laws and Affirmatively Further Fair Housing". Quite simply, the Mayor cannot build Public Housing in this city and make this certification. To the contrary, building in this city will violate these laws.
Mayor Rosen responded calmly and appropriately to this letter:
"The letter wouldn’t change the course of action he and other voucher advocates planned to follow, however, Rosen said Tuesday.
“I have gotten the letter”, Rosen said. “It doesn’t say anything we hadn’t already heard. It states their position, and we have stated ours."
HUD to Mayor: Vouchers Won't Fly
HUD Threatens Galveston with Loss of Funds
He is absolutely right, this is nothing new!
Letter received a year ago from HUD.
The Conciliation Agreement does NOT require the rebuilding of Public Housing and it does NOT say that if it is rebuilt that it must be rebuilt in any particular location; it merely sets aside money for the rebuilding, if it is undertaken.
However, what it does clearly require is that any rebuilding that is done MUST Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, i.e. it must follow the Fair Housing Act.
What the State politicians and bureaucrats and the HUD bureaucrats have never understood is that with Galveston’s horrible demographics, it is impossible to build any more Public Housing units in this city, let alone double the number, and Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, therefore, doing so WILL VIOLATE the Fair Housing Act. In addition, the dreadful locations where GHA has insisted on rebuilding makes the violations even more extreme. This means that the Mayor is on very solid legal footing when he keeps his promise to the voters.
The only decision Mayor Rosen and his GHA Commissioners have to make this week is whether Mr. Lowe’s resignation should become effective on Friday, rather than in September.
Read the Latest HUD Letter