The Galveston Housing Authority is going to have no role in the construction of public housing on scattered sites in Galveston. None.

That point was clear in court documents filed in the Galveston Open Government Project’s lawsuit aimed at blocking the construction of mixed-income developments in Galveston.

Both the state and federal governments have a stake in replacing public-housing units destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Some of those units would be in mixed-income developments that are to be built on the sites of two old housing projects that were wrecked by the storm.

Jorge Ramirez, senior director of the General Land Office’s Disaster Recovery Division, said in an affidavit that the state agency had hired a consulting firm to plan for 384 scattered sites in Galveston.

In May, the state agency plans to procure a developer to build those units. If the Galveston Open Government Project is successful in blocking the mixed-income developments, the General Land Office will have to give the consulting firm more time to plan to build all 529 units on scattered sites in Galveston, Ramirez said.

That court document is about as complete an account of what is planned as has appeared in the public record.

To recap, the key players are the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the General Land Office, a consulting firm and a developer.

The Galveston Housing Authority has no role.

(11) comments

Miceal O'Laochdha

Another fine example of the increasingly Totalitarian society in which we live. Where a theoretically Beneficent Dictatorship creeps a bit more each day into the State level of government by means of money, borrowed from China and dangled under the nose of state level demagogues. And that dictator is not a Republican or a Democratic elected administration really; it is the silent Colossus of the bureaucracy itself; living on from one administration to the next and creeping ever-forward like a glacier. Local officials are the last ones to jump on the Big Brother Bus but, they are queuing up.

OK, that was my Libertarian relief valve going off. Sorry.

Raymond Lewis

There now Heber, you went and ruined it; was wondering how long it would take for some to figure this one out. Those in these comment sections who think it is a good idea to rebuild all public housing on scattered sites might now think twice. Or not.

Norman Pappous

I am at a loss as to why this is considered newsworthy.

Galveston had no say in the mixed-income developments. That was dictated to us.

Why should we expect a role in the scattered sites?

Ted Wagner

"Local control" of scattered sites is truly a moot point until the courts render a decision on fair housing standards, unless the aim is to present hypotheticals in an attempt to sway public opinion.

Should the courts find current plans violate fair housing standards, as Heber contends here, subsequent actions will become clear, albeit in a deliberate, step-by-step process. The existing housing plan is the culmination of misguided judgments/decisions that in-time, can only be rectified, one step at a time.

If there's genuine concern with the possibility of increasing scattered sites throughout Galveston, perhaps the most pressing editorial should highlight the issues emphasized by Stanley Lowe, former GHA Executive Director -- an "insider's perspective" of the perils of increasing scattered sites (see Heber’s 11Apr2014 Editorial:

But, again, only if there's general concern....

Raymond Lewis

Actually Mr. Papous, that is not entirely correct. The COG could have had lots of input into the process, and did. But through some on city council, the decision was to try and dictate rather than negotiate. You have no input because you lost that unnecessary battle.

Steve Fouga

I wonder where the scattered sites would be built? As I understand it, they must be built; existing buildings don't qualify as suitable.

So, where? West End? LOTS of room there! Empty spaces north of Broadway? Pelican Island? Beachtown, LOL! Plenty of lots available there, and the ocean breeze is great! Evia is another area with a bunch of lots available. How about scraping blighted properties in San Jacinto and putting some units there? How about the Fort Crockett barracks property -- excellent view of the Gulf! Cedar Lawn, Colony Park and Denver Court are built out and well-maintained, so no room there. But the East End Historical District has plenty of blighted properties that could be scraped to make room. Same for the Silk Stocking Historical District. Even the Strand Historical District has room.

With over 500 units to work with, it would be possible to ruin almost every neighborhood in G-Town.

Here's my prediction: When all is said and done, the City and its citizens WILL have a say in where the housing is built.

Bill Broussard

I really don’t understand this at all. The GLO has no responsibility because, as the GCDN noted a few weeks back, they claim it’s the GHA housing plan, not theirs. Yet the GHA has no responsibility because the GLO took it away? On top of that, HUD has endorsed the plan so it could qualify for Tax credits to underwrite the cost but HUD has never approved the plan formally?

If the judge has any sense at all, he will start to get the feeling that this is all smoke or at least one of the defendants is smoking bath salts and try the case on the merits of the plan against AFFH law which—from what I can see—is one other deep foggy bottom.

Matt Coulson

Pro public housing plan people have arguments that only consider how best to manage the rebuild that we must do according to the state and the Feds. Anti public housing people argue that the idea of concentrated housing is racist, inhumane and disrespectful. Who's position is selfish and who's is ideological? Social justice is not something to be given up on because the powers that be say your wrong.i think its great that we are talking about scattered sites and I love that the transparent racists are quaking in their boots at the thought of these folks living next door. A robust section 8 program is the right thing for Galveston, but there were people who wanted to get rich off this rebuild and others that did not want to loose their power base. They do not care about the people. They use them like a commodity for their own purpose's. Heber uses all of his "practical" arguments to sooth his soul, but some of us are standing on principal. Government barracks to house your underpaid workforce is a very dark idea.

Steve Fouga

Personally, I'm in favor of NO rebuild of any sort, whether mixed-income or scattered sites. NONE.

I feel that concentrating poverty breeds crime, so I don't like the idea of building the mixed-income sites.

I believe placing scattered sites all over the Island ruins otherwise delightful and high-value neighborhoods, so I don't like that either.

No racism here, just don't see a need to add more public housing to an already run-down town. I consider my view to be practical, economical, and selfish, but not racist.

Jarvis Buckley

You are not scaring us heber

Matt Coulson

I think we already have far more than our fair share of public housing.but if we add even one more unit, it should be in an existing rental. The landlord must keep up a federal standard and the money is put into the island economy.

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