City of Houston

Houston City Council approves $18.6 million for housing development for homeless

The new housing complex in Midtown was originally supposed to be voted on last week, but was delayed due to councilmembers opposing the development.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

The Houston City Council voted Wednesday to approve $18.6 million for a new permanent supportive housing development for the homeless.

Last week, council delayed the vote due to numerous council members opposing the NHP Foundation for mismanagement of other properties like Cleme Manor Apartments in Houston's Fifth Ward.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said he agreed there have been problems and council members made valid points at last week's council meeting.

"I did not disagree with the comments that were made, the way Cleme Manor has been managed and handled has been horrific," he said. "No tenant should be living in substandard conditions."

The new 149-unit housing complex will be located at 3300 Caroline Street in Midtown, just a block away from Houston Community College Main Campus. The city and the county are working collaboratively on the project and the county previously voted to put in $10 million.

Turner said in order to prevent the same situation from happening at the new complex he will put measures in place to protect the tenants, like adopting the county's Tenant’s Bill of Rights.

"Because this is a collaboration between the county and the city, what's in the county ‘s document also applies to the city," he said. "So if there is a default on the tenants rights that the county added, it applies to us as well.

The city has also put an agreement in place with the owner of Cleme Manor Apartments that allows the city to enforce regulations to ensure tenants’ living needs are being met.

Council member Letitia Plummer, who was not in favor of the developer at last week's meeting, applauded the efforts that Mayor's Turner is making to fix the issues with Cleme Manor, but she was still not in support of the new developer.

She said there are more complexes owned by the NHP Foundation that are struggling, but Cleme Manor is the only complex vocal about the conditions.

"Not only is it Cleme Manor, that's the only focus, but there's approximately 22 other apartment complexes on the same guidelines," she said. "This is just not enough, this is just that one, this is just Cleme. What about all of the other ones?"

Council member Edward Pollard provided quotes from people that spoke during city council's public session on Tuesday about the conditions of Cleme Manor.

"People said they were living in horrible conditions and tired of promises being made with no actions," he said.

Councilmember Pollard said ultimately voted in favor because the new measures put in place will help residents of Cleme Manor and provide housing for the homeless.

"My vote in support of this is really your vision, mayor, for making sure that people who are homeless have somewhere to live, ” he said. "My vote is more so on your vision of ensuring we put something in place to help the people of Cleme."

Six council members still voted to not fund the $18.6 million for the project.

The housing development in Midtown must be completed and leased out to residents by August 2024 or the city will lose the $18.6 million given by the General Land Office (GLO).

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