Bellaire - Meyerland - West University Edition | March 2021

Houston backs 17 proposals for affordable housing tax credits

Proposed affordable developments

These are the developments submitted by the city of Houston to the state of Texas for consideration for a 9% affordable housing tax credit. Some, but not all, of the proposals will be approved by the state in July.

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BY EMMA WHALEN

consideration. District G Council Mem- ber Greg Travis, who represents much of West Houston, seconded Knox’s idea; however, the remaining council members blocked the effort. For one, Knox requested a discus- sion of a development at 909 Fisher St., Houston, in the Garden Oaks neighborhood just northwest of Loop 610. During public comment, some voiced concerns about flooding, school crowding and the size of the lot. “This location is a funky trapezoid, 1-acre lot, and I cannot see how it would fit the building or the parking needed,” resident Callie Ritter said. “We’re all for the idea of affordable housing, but this location is not the best location.” Others supported the project. “Red-lining was banned 50 years

FEMAvaccine site serves 6,000per day fromhigh-risk ZIPs HOUSTON On Feb. 24, City Council approved seeking state tax credits for 17 proposed affordable housing developments throughout the city. The proposals are selected through an annual application process and in accordance with scoring criteria created by the Houston Housing and Community Development Department and are then submitted to the state of Texas. In July, state housing officials will approve fewer than half of the proposals to receive a 9% tax credit reserved specifically for affordable developments. The item passed with little discus- sion despite an effort by At-Large Council Member Mike Knox to separate out two of the proposed developments on the list for further

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SOURCE: CITY OF HOUSTON/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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ago, and yet it is still hurting our minorities today,” Sabrina Norman said, referring to racially discrimina- tory practices in mortgage lending and city planning. “So I am asking ... for support of the Fisher Street

Apartments.” In response to potential Civil Rights Act violations, Houston debuted a new scoring matrix in 2020 for proposals, resulting in a broader distribution of projects.

Council OKs brief grace period for overdue rent

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BY EMMA WHALEN

he previously opposed, to allow time to coordinate a $159 million rent relief programwith Harris County. “I do not think people ought to be evicted while these dollars are coming ... because the dollars are there,” he said. Bellaire City Council meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. at 7008 S. Rice Ave., Bellaire. Meetings are streamed at www.bellairetx.gov. West University Place City Council meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 3800 University Blvd., Houston. Meetings are available via teleconference. Find details at www.westutx.gov. Houston City Council meets weekly at 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays for public comment and 9 a.m. Wednesdays for regular business at 901 Bagby St., Houston. Meetings are streamed at www.houstontx.gov/htv. Harris County Commissioners Court will meet at 10 a.m. March 9. Live meeting video is available at www.harriscountytx.gov. MEETINGSWE COVER

HOUSTON City Council voted Feb. 17 to approve a grace period ordinance extending the amount of time renters have to resolve payment issues to March 31 before a landlord can pursue an eviction. The ordinance follows an existing Centers for Disease Control and Pre- vention eviction order. Renters qualify for protection if they sign a declara- tion stating they have tried to obtain government assistance; make less than $99,000 individually or $198,000 as a household; are unable to make full rent due to substantial loss of income; have made efforts to make full or partial payments; and would be rendered homeless if evicted. Without the ordinance, tenants would have three days to resolve a missed payment before landlords can file an eviction. Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city pursued the grace period, which

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Only those who meet state eligibility requirements will be able to receive vaccinations at the site. Those include residents over age 65 and those over age 16 with chronic health conditions. Officials from the Houston Health Department and the Harris County Department of Public Health will draw from their respective waitlists to schedule vaccine appointments at the FEMA site; however, appointments are being prioritized for those who live in “high-risk” ZIP codes—those determined by the county to have high case counts, death rates and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Hidalgo said the county waitlist has over 320,000 names. To sign up for the Harris County vaccine waitlist, call 832-927-8787 or visit https://publichealth.harris countytx.gov. To sign up for the city of Houston waitlist, call 832-393- 4301 or visit https://houston emergency.org/covid-19-vaccines.

HOUSTON The Federal Emer- gency Management Agency’s 11-lane drive-thru vaccine hub at NRG Stadium—one of four of its kind in the U.S.—launched Feb. 23 and is capable of vaccinating 6,000 residents per day, seven days a week, for six weeks. “Texas is still a hot spot, and Texas has not moved from being a hot spot,” said U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Houston, at the opening preview of the site Feb. 22. By the end of the six weeks, offi- cials plan to have fully inoculated 126,000 residents. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the county is working to ensure the site will continue running after that point. All doses administered at NRG Stadium will be in addition to the thousands of weekly doses offered by the Houston Health Department, Harris County Health Department and other providers to high-risk populations.

$159million

in rent relief allocated in a joint Houston-Harris County program that opened in February

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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