Houston is implementing new housing policies as part of a joint agreement with the federal government. This comes after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which found some of the city's housing policies violated the Civil Rights Act.
HUD initiated its investigation because the city refused to support the construction of a mixed-income apartment complex the Houston Housing Authority was proposing to build at the 2600 block of Fountain View Drive west of the Galleria shopping center. In a letter HUD sent to Mayor Sylvester Turner in January of last year, HUD's investigation deemed the City was in noncompliance with title six of the Civil Rights Act because of possible discrimination on the basis of race or national origin.
Residents of the area where the Houston Housing Authority wanted to build the apartment complex repeatedly complained about the project.
Mayor Turner said his opposition was based on its cost, which was estimated at $56 million dollars for about 230 units — or around $240,000 per unit. Turner emphasized at the time that only 23 of the units — just 10 percent of the entire project– would be designated for families living below the poverty line.
Tom McCasland is director of Houston's Housing and Community Development Department. He tells Houston Matters producer Maggie Martin how the city is changing its policies going forward.