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April 25, 2000     (512) 463-0300

Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee examines housing during Capitol hearing.

AUSTIN - The Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee met today, Tuesday, April 25th, at the State Capitol.

Today's meeting focused on charge 5, in which the committee is to examine the powers, functions and programs administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC). The committee will report to the 77th Legislature, assessing the methodology used in allocating the various housing funds and resources, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and the Housing Trust Fund. It will also examine compliance by the agency with that methodology, and address whether the programs administered by TDHCA and TSAHC meet the affordable housing demands of targeted population groups throughout the State of Texas.

Daisy A. Stiner, Executive Director of TDHCA; and Bill Dally, Chief Financial Officer of TDHCA provided invited testimony. They briefed the committee on the achievements, goals and problems of their agency's seven programs. Those are the Housing Trust Fund, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Statewide Housing Assistance Payments Program, the Multi-family Mortgage Revenue Bond Program, the Single-family Mortgage Revenue Bond Program, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation.

Each one of these major programs comprise a number of different plans that assist Texas families in many different ways, from helping to pay utility bills, to ensuring safe and decent buildings, to assisting in solving disputes. Last year, the programs helped 24,400 low income Texans. But the director reports that available funding can only reach one percent of the people in need. Stiner said the program receives close to $400 million in funds, it would take $20 billion to provide help to all the state's low-income families.

One of the programs, the Housing Trust Fund (HTF), gives housing loans or grants to families receiving from zero to 80% of the median family income. This income varies from region to region throughout Texas. Last year, the agency distributed a little over $7 million in grants, two thirds of those in urban areas, the source of most applications. In trying to reach rural, isolated areas, the agency provides workshops for local residents, showing them how to apply for loans or grants. The agency also provides emergency grants for victims of natural disasters.

Following the invited testimony, members of the public voiced their opinions and concerns about low-income housing issues.

The committee is holding hearings throughout the state to study charges issued by Lt. Governor Rick Perry for study during this interim. Members of the committee include Senators Frank L. Madla of San Antonio serving as chair, Jon Lindsay of Houston, Rodney Ellis of Houston, Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth, and Drew Nixon of Carthage.

The committee stands recessed subject to the call of the chair. Members will submit a report to be used in the drafting of legislation for the 77th Legislature, which convenes in January of 2001.

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