October 17, 2007 — Mayor Bill White joined Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Executive Director Michael Gerber, City Housing Director Richard Celli and Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt to announce that Houston has obtained a community development grant to improve the City’s affordable apartment stock and to enhance public safety.
The $40 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides assistance to communities still managing the long-term recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The City must spend the funds in areas with a high number of apartments occupied by evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and in areas where the high density of apartment complexes coincides with higher rates in Part I violent crime.
Analysis of the Houston area indicates that Houston Police Districts 6, 15, 17, 18, 19 and 20 on the city’s north, southwest, and west sides are eligible for projects related to the grant.
“A critical part of maintaining the quality of Houston’s neighborhoods is taking care of aging multi-family housing stock,” said Mayor Bill White. “This grant helps us improve aging apartment structures, and in doing so, provides dignified, affordable housing conditions, while reducing the blight and frustration that attracts crime.”
“While the entire state of Texas helped Katrina’s evacuees, Houston set the pace for Texas cities,” said Director Gerber. “ I applaud Governor Perry for directing this $40 million in federal Community Development Bock Grants to the city. These funds will not only rehabilitate several affordable housing developments but they’ll also help cover the costs of public safety.”
The City of Houston will spend $20 million on the improvement of apartment housing stock. The renovations include external rehabilitation such as siding and roofing as well as apartment unit drywall, carpet and appliances to create the additional affordable housing.
The remaining $20 million will be used to enhance communications between residents and Houston police officers through community meetings, resident safety training, additional patrols and youth and neighborhood activities, and to provide some patrol overtime.
As a part of the same grant, evacuees will be eligible for additional social services provided by Harris County, which received $20 million from HUD under the same program.