Statement from NLIHC President Sheila Crowley on HUD’S Rejection of Texas’s Disaster Plan
WASHINGTON - The National Low Income Housing Coalition joins housing advocates from Texas in applauding the decision by the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development to reject the plan submitted by the state of Texas on how the state
would use Hurricane Ike disaster recovery funds.
Housing advocates in Texas
objected to the state plan primarily because it failed to assure that low and
moderate income Texans who lost their homes or whose homes were damaged in
Hurricane Ike would be assisted. After conducting their review of what the
state proposed, HUD officials agreed with the advocates that the plan did not
meet federal CDBG requirements.
In a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry, HUD Assistant Secretary for
Community Planning and Development Mercedes Marquez notified him that these
requirements had not been met and more than $1.7 billion in Community
Development Block Grants would be withheld until they were. The state now has
45 days to resubmit its plan.
HUD based its denial on Texas's
failure to provide an adequate method of distribution of the funds that would
allow the public to exercise its right to comment on where the funds would be
spent and who would benefit. Federal law requires that states who receive CDBG
funding for disaster recovery detail how the funds will be allocated to local
units of government and that the state notify the public of the state action
plan and give the public an opportunity to comment.
In its letter, HUD urged Texas
to consider whether fair housing concerns are being addressed in accordance
with Federal requirements that require states receiving disaster recovery funds
to certify that low and moderate income households will be assisted and that it
is affirmatively furthering fair housing choice.
HUD's rejection of the Texas
plan sends a strong message to state and local officials that the new HUD will
hold them accountable for how they spend federal housing and community
development funds. No longer will they be able to spend CDBG and other HUD
dollars without regard to federal guidelines and their obligation to serve low
income people and advance fair housing choice.
Housing advocates across the country should look to the Texas case as a victory
and a model to follow in their communities.
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare,
the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving
socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States
have affordable and decent homes.