June 2007 - In the June edition of Housing Matters, TxLIHIS reports on some of the more significant housing bills to pass the 2007 session of the Texas Legislature .
Housing Trust Funds
April 2007 - In
the April edition of Housing Matters, TxLIHIS examines
how housing trust funds have become the solution to
housing problems at the local, state, and national
levels. Drawing from the perspectives of three leading
housing advocates, we explore challenges and
opportunities for establishing a Texas Housing Trust
Fund with an ongoing revenue source.
Enclosed in the newsletter is a DVD sponsored by Wachovia
Bank that shows how a Texas Housing Trust Fund can support
innovative programs that provide low-income Texans a
“hand up” in their effort to obtain an
Watch a 9 minute video explaining the
Housing trust fund.
Housing Trust Funds (1.3
November 2006 - In
the November edition of Housing Matters, TxLIHIS
announces the 2006 honorees. They are: Heather Way,
attorney and housing advocate; Ruth Cedillo, retired
deputy state housing director; Standish Meacham,
University of Texas at Austin professor emeritus; and
Austin Mayor Will Wynn.
2006 Texas Houser Awards
April 2006 -
Fannie Mae claims to “hold diversity and
inclusion...as one of our highest values.”
But is this value reflected in Fannie Mae’s track
record? In a state so diverse as Texas, why is this
diversity not reflected in homeownership rates? Why in
Texas are just 46 percent of African-Americans and 56
percent of Hispanics homeowners, while 71 percent of Whites
are homeowners? Does Fannie Mae play a role in this
In 2002, the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service
(TxLIHIS) embarked on a long-term research project to
answer these questions. We discovered that there was no
independent evaluation of Fannie Mae’s record of
purchasing loans to minorities in Texas. So we decided to
conduct the research ourselves. Over the next years, we
studied Fannie Mae’s impact on the single-family home
loan market for minorities in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Our research results, summarized in this newsletter, and
presented completely on this web site,
are troubling. Far from being a leader in serving
minorities and low- and moderate-income borrowers, the
majority of single family mortgage loans Fannie Mae
purchases are directed at White and upper income
A 15 minute video summary is
Closing the Gap of Closing the Door?
February 2006 -
Five months have passed since President Bush resolved
to confront the poverty exposed by Hurricane Katrina
with bold action. In this issue of Housing Matters we
tell the story of Alice, a hurricane evacuee living in
Texas who fears that low- income victims of the
hurricane will soon be forgotten.
Few would dispute the fact that the government botched the
evacuation of people from the path of Katrina. A growing
number of Texans share Alice’s fear that the current
recovery effort for low-income evacuees is becoming yet
another governmental failure.
Evacuees face growing problems
December 2005 -
Over 144,000 households were displaced by Hurricane
Katrina to Texas. Many of these households had low
incomes before the disaster and have no income today.
Helping these families find permanent, decent and
affordable housing is very important.
This special issue of Housing Matters reports the findings
of a public forum on the long-term housing needs of the
hurricane survivors held at the Texas Capitol on October
11, 2005. The forum was sponsored by the Texas Low Income
Housing Information Service along with Housing Texas, the
Center for Public Policy Priorities, the Texas Affiliation
of Affordable Housing Providers, Senators Royce West and
Rodney Ellis and Representative Eddie Rodriguez.
Two panels composed of government officials, housing
professionals, lenders, the faith community and hurricane
survivors offered their views on two questions:
1) What are the housing needs of hurricane survivors in
2) What considerations should guide the provision of
permanent housing for hurricane survivors?
The November issue of Housing Matters presents the results
of this hurricane housing forum.
Meeting hurricane evacuees long term needs
November 2005 - In
Houston, poor, inner-city residents are receiving
assistance in saving for their futures, so they can
one day buy a home, or even start a business. In El
Paso, families are working together to build sturdy,
affordable homes. In one East Austin neighborhood,
residents who feared they would be displaced by
gentrification may now be able to continue living in
the community they have called home for generations.
These stories of hope have been possible thanks to the work
of three individuals dedicated to fighting poverty and
providing decent housing for needy Texans. On November 1,
the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (TxLIHIS)
recognized these champions of housing justice with the 2005
Texas Houser Awards.
The 2005 honorees are: Stephan Fairfield, CEO of Covenant
Community Capital; State Representative Eddie Rodriguez;
and Nancy Hanson, Executive Director of the Lower Valley
In the October issue of Housing Matters we present the 2005
Texas Houser Award winners.
2005 Texas Houser Awards (280k)
October 2005 -
Self-help housing programs provide affordable housing
to low-income families and promote self-sufficiency.
The Lower Valley Housing Corporation in El Paso County
is operating one of the largest and most successful
self-help programs in the nation.
The program is in-sync with broadly prevailing Texas
values. Low-income Texas families should have a clear and
safe path toward the independence and security of
homeownership. Through hard work and reasonable sacrifices,
Texas families should be able to own a safe, decent home.
For self-help housing to reach more people, Texas must
modify existing programs and provide an adequate source of
subdivision and mortgage financing. In the September issue
of Housing Matters we explore how to make this happen.
You can preview this issue through a short audio slide
Self-help housing (2.8m)
August 2005 - The
first installment of the TxLIHIS Five Families project
(featured in this newsletter) tells the story of the
Vela Family - a family like almost one hundred
thousand others living in colonias, who despite their
best efforts are unable to break free from the
shackles of poverty.
Through this ongoing series of the stories of five Texas
families,TxLIHIS follows their aspirations and day-to-day
lives and highlights the public policy issues that affect
their ability to obtain decent housing. By chronicling
their struggles over time, we are able to explore in detail
the ways that their inability to obtain safe, decent,
affordable housing has influenced their destinies.
An audio-slide show on the family is available
One colonia family's struggle
July 2005 -
Housing segregation in Texas cities has historically
been among the highest in the nation. While racial
segregation levels fell significantly from 1980 to
1990, the decrease in segregation slowed and in some
Texas cities increased from 1990 to 2000.
In this newsletter, we explore the background of housing
segregation in Texas and ask what should be done about the
problem. To arrive at some answers, TxLIHIS interviewed
Elizabeth “Betsy” Julian, the state’s
leading expert on fair housing and a civil rights attorney
who filed the landmark Young v. Kemp and Walker, et al v.
HUD, et al housing desegregation lawsuits.
Housing segregation (1.2m)
June 2005 - The
79th session of the Texas Legislature has come to a
close—a legislative session producing solid
progress for housing and the rights of housing
The Legislature advanced housing and consumer rights on
many fronts: curbing predatory home financing arrangements,
prioritizing decent housing for farm workers, providing
solutions to gentrification, and aiding our most
impoverished communities. Housing advocates raised media
awareness and forged stronger relationships between
grassroots housing allies across the state.
In this newsletter are the major accomplishments this
Housing fares well in Legislature
April 2005 - A
bill moving through the Texas Legislature this session
is not a cartoon, but it is a caricature of housing
policy reform. H.B. 1167, sponsored by Rep. Robert
Talton, significantly weakens the state housing
agency, the Texas Department of Housing and Community
Affairs (TDHCA), and one of the most critical housing
programs for the poor: the Low Income Housing Tax
Credit Program (LIHTC). It does so by taking away the
State’s ability to oversee this program and
transfers this power to private developers.
In this issue of Housing Matters we examine this bill in
detail and report on the devastating effects it would have
on affordable housing in Texas if it is enacted.
The worst housing bill (272k)
March 2005 -
Contracts for deed are largely responsible for
creating thousands of colonias: unincorporated
developments that lack basic public services. Although
long associated with the Texas-Mexico border, colonias
are now developing across the state, in rural counties
and in the heart of major cities.
In this issue of Housing Matters we examine the problems
posed by contracts for deeds and rent to own scams to
communities and low-income families who are often
victimized by these predatory sales practices.
Home buying scams (272k)
February 2005 -
TxLIHIS has consistently advocated more attention and
resources be directed toward the housing needs of the
poorest Texans. We are deeply troubled that most
government housing subsidies go to upper and
middle-income households rather than to the poor, who
live in the worst housing conditions.
In this issue of Housing Matters we examine these
inequities, reveal how current policies neglect the most
vulnerable families, and dispel common myths about who are
the beneficiaries of federal housing subsidy.
Housing assistance bypasses neediest
January 2005 - In
the January issue of Housing Matters we present our
review of the top 40 Texas affordable housing issues
for 2005 at the federal and state levels.
The newsletter also contains our predictions about what
will happen on these issues along with New Year's
resolutions we believe everyone should make.
Top 40 Texas housing issues for 2005
November 2004 -
The November 2004 issue investigates the problems
facing the Texas' largest public housing authority.
The San Antonio Housing Authority, burdened by management
problems and poor tenant-relations, is undergoing
reorganization at the hand of a young new CEO, Henry
Alvarez. We interviewed Alverez about his background, his
vision, and his views on specific housing policy issues.
The November issue also explains controversial management
decisions at the housing authority and how those decisions
have impacted the lives of San Antonio’s low-income
San Antonio Housing Authority
October 2004 - The
October 2004 issue features profiles of receipents of
the 2004 Texas Houser Awards.
Each year, TxLIHIS gives three individuals or organizations
a Texas Houser Award. In recognition of the importance of
confronting the housing problem from multiple sectors, the
awards are given in each of three categories: communtiy
houser, activist houser and government houser.
the 2004 Texas Houser Awards were presented to Edwina
Carrington, Exectuive Director of the Texas Department of
Housing and Community Affairs; Walter Moreau, Executive
Director of Foundation Communities, Austin and the Amistad
Housing Development Corporation of Hereford, Texas.
2004 Texas Houser Awards (381k)
September 2004 -
The September 2004 issue reports the results of our
investigation into the living conditions of farm
workers in the Texas Panhandle.
We found a paralyzing combination of a lack of market data
on the farm worker housing deficit, a neglect of most of
the existing farm worker housing, and a lack of local
initiative to deal with the obvious substandard living
Substandard farm worker housing