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Houston Has Large Backlog In Affordable Housing

Hurricane Harvey has only made the problem worse

Florian Martin
Tom McCasland, left, director of the city of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department, and Tory Gunsolley, president of the Houston Housing Authority, speak during an affordable housing event organized by Make Room at the Bank of American Center on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

More than 400,000 Houstonians need affordable housing, but there's only enough for about 60,000, according to Tory Gunsolley, president and CEO of the Houston Housing Authority.

"Many people have always thought of Houston as very affordable," he said. "And why do we actually need any affordable housing through government programs because we have lots of affordable housing. But that's becoming less and less true."

He said some of the challenges are getting sufficient federal funds and opposition to housing in high opportunity areas.

Ali Solis, president of Make Room, an affordable housing advocacy group out of Washington, D.C., said rental assistance is another measure that could help.

"Many families just need a short-term emergency assistance loan or a grant to get them through a rough period," she said, "because they're living paycheck to paycheck."

The best approach is to build affordable housing in well developed areas but also in underserved communities that can be revitalized, Solis said.



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