GALVESTON

Galveston Housing Authority has submitted plans to build 50 public housing units in Texas City as part of a requirement to replace units destroyed during Hurricane Ike, a move one low-income housing advocate said violates agreements made soon after the storm.

Galveston still must build 287 units of public housing to meet a requirement to replace 569 units demolished after being flooded in the 2008 hurricane.

The Galveston Housing Authority in June submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to build 50 of 287 units in Texas City, Executive Director Mona Purgason said. The Texas City authority has approached Galveston with the idea, she said.

The plan is an amendment to a proposal submitted to the federal department in May, which suggests 100 scattered site units north of Broadway, 100 units south of Broadway and another 87 units at yet-to-be determined locations, according to the Galveston Housing Authority’s draft submission.

“We have a shovel-ready project in Texas City,” Purgason said.

Some of the 569 units already have been replaced through development of mixed-income housing, and another 97 were planned as the first wave of units scattered throughout Galveston.

Of those units, construction has begun or been completed on 89, including 52 occupied units, said Deyna Sims, housing authority director of real estate and development, said.

Purgason was unsure what kind of housing the 50 units on the mainland would be and Texas City Housing Authority on Friday did not respond to requests for comment.

Where to rebuild public housing units has been a point of debate between nonprofit advocacy groups and the city of Galveston since a 2012 resolution that laid out a plan to replace the destroyed 569 units. Much of the opposition to public housing comes from residents who say scattered-site housing drags down property values and increases crime.

Replacing any of the public housing units destroyed by Ike was a polarizing issue on the island, with some Galveston residents seeking to have some or all of the units rebuilt on the mainland. But federal and state government officials intervened, threatening to take back hundreds of millions of dollars in post-storm recovery money from the city if it did not replace public housing.

“The documents the Galveston Housing Authority submitted to HUD, it’s not compliant,” said John Henneberger, co-director of Texas Low Income Housing Information Service. “It fails to meet the legal standards.”

Purgason disagreed, saying the plan meets criteria that the units be in an area that meets fair housing requirements, she said.

The proposed units would add public housing options in Galveston County, Mayor Jim Yarbrough said.

The goal is to try to build quality housing back in the area, Yarbrough said. But there isn’t enough demand on the island for all the proposed public housing units, he said.

“We’ve been struggling to verify demand for another 300 units, 280 units, on the island,” Yarbrough said.

Purgason pointed out the housing authority’s proposal is still conceptual. The agency awaits approval from the federal government before moving forward with more concrete plans, she said.

The funding to repair public housing destroyed during Hurricane Ike from the federal government is set to expire at the end of 2019, Purgason said.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(21) comments

Jarvis Buckley

This is a good plan. Hope it goes through. When Elizabeth Beeton was on the GCC she recommended some of the houses be built on the main land. She was called a racist & every
minority group opposed her . Now that reality has set in. Maybe they will
be more agreeable. I hope so. It makes sense.

George Croix

Gee, thanks....Galveston already sent me a set of neighbors who are a joy to live right next to....and, they are quiet, too.
I haven't had to listen to the noise of their lawnmower since JUNE of 2017 in the back yard, and since July of this year in the front. Very thoughtful.
Good news is the grass hides the trash and junk laying all over.

Be thankful for small favors, I suppose.....

Don Schlessinger

Just trying to share George.

George Croix

Actually, this bunch is way better than the last occupants....
Moving on up, to the big time......

Jarvis Buckley

George , complain to city code enforcement, take a picture & send to
B. Maxwell,your rep should also be made aware.

George Croix

Do you REALLY think I'm not aggressive...[beam][beam][beam]
I don't live in Galveston, Jarvis.
Texas City Code Enforcement is as close to useless as possible.
I can't force anyone to do anything, and it's a 'government job' so guess where that leads....and, I reckon it's also a matter of low staff count and high complaint count.
It took 6 MONTHS last time after personal visits with the proper code enforcement people to notify, assess, re-notify, reassess, etc. 'legal games' to get that back yard cut last time. Which of course was the LAST time, so far....NOW you have to call an unresponsive 'Community Developement' Dept. number, where you leave a message with address of complaint and return call number , and get zero call back. When I called THEM I got an answer, with some attitude, that I had already called 3 times and didn't need to call again and the complaint was being acted on.
That will soon be a month ago.
Problem is, I live in 'west' Texas City, which is the ugly stepchild of the Real Texas City that starts east of 146.
The good news is the last bunch there, also exports from the Island, were worse, AND dopers AND noisy.....
I'm counting my blessings.....and will take it from here.....next stop is a face to face with that 'attitude'....

Jarvis Buckley

George , you shouldn't have to put with that bull, it lowers the market value of your home.
also try notifying GHA , tell them their tenant not complying with
City ordinance. Contact GDN , get a reporter to take a picture & write article. Suggest GDN ask tenant interview why they are violating city
ordinances. Get aggressive .

timothy spencer

" Replacing any of the public housing units destroyed by Ike was a polarizing issue on the island, with some Galveston residents seeking to have some or all of the units rebuilt on the mainland. But federal and state government officials intervened, threatening to take back hundreds of millions of dollars in post-storm recovery money from the city if it did not replace public housing."
“We have a shovel-ready project in Texas City,” Purgason said.
The proposed units would add public housing options in Galveston County, Mayor Jim Yarbrough said.

The goal is to try to build quality housing back in the area, Yarbrough said. But there isn’t enough demand on the island for all the proposed public housing units, he said.

“We’ve been struggling to verify demand for another 300 units, 280 units, on the island,” Yarbrough said.
Jim Yarbrough is the Mayor of Galveston NOT the county judge. If I remember correctly we voted him out some time ago. Keep these great houses in Galveston where they belong or give all the money back to the State Of Texas.

Jarvis Buckley

Tim- I followed this issue closely. I thought then & think now housing should be spread out through the county. Having said that I challenge you to name one person who didn't want "any" public housing in Galveston . You are an example of fake news that our president talks about. Just my opinion.
As far as George he is being treated very unfairly .

George Croix

No, no, no, Jarvis.....
We are ALL being treated the same...it's nothing personal aimed at any one person.....I don't take it personal at all......it's just typical of government jobs at all levels......
AND having been in a place at a job with others in similar circumstances where we were constantly expected to do 200% more with 25% less, I am somewhat sympathetic to the folks who may be trying to do good, but are overwhelmed....
I was unhappy but OK until that last effort for feedback.....
When we start letting it get personal, then 'they' win.....
Can't have that.....

timothy spencer

Would you like to make it personal? You already have. I am capable of doing that too.

George Croix

But, I haven't said anything to you, Timothy. I'm talking to Jarvis.
If you want to get upset over what I haven't done to you, I don't care.....have at it.....

timothy spencer

George Croix, I was sending that reply to Jarvis Buckley. Between the rain & lightning my computer was working very poorly. I apologize for the confusion.

George Croix

No need to apologize for what you didn't do, Timothy!!
BTW, it was ME talking about 'not making it personal' to Jarvis in relation to the actions, or lack of them, by government employees/code enforcement, etc....he didn't use the phrase itself.....

Jarvis Buckley

10-4 George 👍

timothy spencer

Would you like to make it personal? You already have. I am capable of doing that too.

Randy Chapman

Just what the mainland needs. We got 90% of the Galveston public housing residents after Ike, and now we get even more! Texas City and LaMarque have become Galvatraz North.

Steve Fouga

This is the most confusing thread I've seen, where people weren't posting drunk... [smile]

George Croix

Maybe there are trying to read it while drunk......[wink]

Walter Manuel

Mr. Croix, not to worry.... there isn't much code "enforcement" or should I say "inspecting" going on in LM either and that's why now they want to start making money off of their property owners who have since moved out of LM and can't sell their homes because LM looks like Freddiesville back in the day and yet not 1, but 2 unqualified code "inspectors" are being paid by the city of LM to drive by and pick and choose carefully who they are going to give a citation to because they don't want to upset the wrong part of the community.

Mr. Croix, I'm sure it won't be long before your neighbor who has probably already destroyed someone else's home, will simply move to a rental property in LM and destroy it too simply because that's how the "rental" system appears to often works IMHO of course. [wink]

Jarvis Buckley

Tim- please accept my sincere apology. If my wording appeared to be personal. I honestly did not mean it that way.

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