Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
They Just Forgot
to Tell Us!
by David Stanowski
17 June 2012
Public Housing comes in two basic flavors. Some units are restricted to occupancy by elderly and/or disabled residents ONLY, and others are open to anyone. The latter are designated as "general occupancy" or "family units".
Typically, "general occupancy" units are the ones plagued with crime and blight, and the "elderly/disabled" units are not.
This pattern held true, in Galveston, before Ike, with the "general occupancy" units, Magnolia, Cedar Terrace, Palm Terrace, and Oleander being the major sources of crime, blight and other problems, and the "elderly/disabled" units, Gulf Breeze and Holland House, being relatively trouble free.
But something happened AFTER Ike that the GHA forgot to tell us!
Apparently, Gulf Breeze and Holland House had such high vacancies, that the GHA quietly switched them to "general occupancy" in order to create a larger number of potential residents to choose from!
How did the GOGP discover this? The 04 April 2012 GHA Board minutes included this statement, "Glenda Garrison stated that she knows of at least three residents in her building that are purchasing illegal drugs and using it on the property. She further stated that residents use sticks and other items to prop open doors so that others they know can come into the property at their..." (The minutes end at that point)
04 April 2012 Minutes
These comments had to be about Gulf Breeze or Holland House which was astounding for buildings we thought to be "elderly/disabled" ONLY!
Then in the 23 April 2012 GHA Board minutes, Deborah Bacon, resident of Gulf Breeze, stated that, "several months ago residents were required to obtain vehicle stickers for the parking lot, however, there is now no parking available because of providers and visitors, and the residents have to park a distance from the building".
23 April 2012 Minutes
These public comments gave us the clues that something had drastically changed at Gulf Breeze and Holland House, so we asked some of the Whistleblowers what was going on. They told us that these properties had been switched from "elderly/disabled" to "general occupancy" in late 2008 or early 2009! The GHA just forgot to tell the people who live in this city about the change!
The following document received on Friday confirms it!
Why is changing from "elderly/disabled" to "general occupancy" at Gulf Breeze and Holland House so important?
Because the problems associated with the "general occupancy" units are legion compared to "elderly/disabled" units, and the GHA knows that better than anyone else! That is why they are starting to get complaints from their own residents!
But more importantly, it demonstrates the principle that with Public Housing, and other forms of subsidized housing, such as Low-Income Tax Credit housing and mixed-income housing; the original plans will quietly be changed, if they don't work out, which can lead to drastically different conditions than were originally promised.
With the proposed mixed-income scheme for this city, we are told that 40% of the units will be occupied by "doctors, lawyers, and engineers"; i.e. middle class residents. But, if this "dream" is not fulfilled, they can accept Section 8 voucher holders in the market-rate units and allow the income and demographic profile of the development to gradually deteriorate with no fan fare or announcement to the public, as happened 3-4 years ago at Gulf Breeze and Holland House.
As you may have noticed, the Poverty Industry expects to be rewarded merely for good intentions; not for actual results. If their grand social engineering experiments don't work out, it was good enough that they tried; and they will probably just forget to tell us that they have made major "adjustments" to the rules! Adjustments that may have a major impact on this city!