Public Comment – Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs 2014 Draft Qualified Allocation Plan

TCDD Letterhead

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Public Comments
2014 Qualified Allocation Plan

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the Draft 2014 State of Texas Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) to be used by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) for awarding and allocating Housing Tax Credits and the Draft of the Uniform Multifamily Rules that set general requirements for the development of affordable housing. TCDD is established by federal law in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. The Council’s mission is to create change so that all people with disabilities are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.
TCDD comments on the Draft 2014 State of Texas Qualified Allocation Plan:

  1. TCDD commends TDHCA on the addition of the new provision found in Sec. 11.4 (c) (2) (D) that provides tax credit developers a 30 percent boost to restrict an additional 10 percent of the low income units for housing for people earning at or below 30 percent area median gross income (AMGI).

    • Setting a 30% percent boost for developers to restrict units at or below 30% AMGI is a significant step toward expanding housing opportunities for extremely low income Texans with disabilities. The extremely low income level of 30% AMGI is $12,600 for a household of one, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The 30% and below incentive could provide access for many people with disabilities who have until now been priced out of affordable housing.
  1. TCDD recommends amending Sec. 11.9 (c) (2) by adding (D) At least 5% of all low-income Units at 15% or less AMGI (7 points).

    • If a developer takes the 30% percent boost for restricting units at or below 30% AMGI, the likely outcome is that those units will rent close to the 30% threshold. This will still price out individuals with developmental disabilities who largely rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In the nearly 15 years since the first "Priced Out" study, the housing affordability gap for people with disabilities has almost doubled as the cost of a modestly priced rental unit has increased from 69% of SSI in 1998 to 104% in 2012.i

      People with disabilities who rely on SSI continue to be among the nation’s poorest citizens. In 2013, the SSI payment for a single individual is only $710 monthly – equal to only 16.2% of the national median income and more than 25% below the 2012 federal poverty level of $11,490. Currently, the only way to qualify for affordable housing at this income level is with subsidies, such as HUD Housing Choice Vouchers or other public housing supports. Because of federal sequestration, Texas has lost $59.3 million in rental assistance and affordable housing programs. Additionally, HUD is preparing to cut 100,000 Section 8 vouchers nationwide. Subsidies are a quickly dwindling option for people with disabilities and the failure to secure or the loss of housing supports results in unnecessary institutionalization or homelessness. An incentive of 5% of low income units at or below 15% AMGI will avert this risk for many who will still be left out with the 30% AMGI boost.

  1. TCDD supports Sec. 11.9 (c) (7) that will provide an additional 2 points in scoring to participate in the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration (PRA) if the developer commits at least 10 units for participation in the 811 program.

    • Under this incentive, according to TDHCA estimates, 20 to 40 new multi-family developments could offer 10% to 20% of their integrated units to persons with disabilities who will receive project based rental vouchers through the Section 811 PRA grant.

TCDD Comments on the Draft of the Uniform Multifamily Rules:

  1. TCDD supports Section 10.101(b)(8) that adds language reinforcing the requirement that two-story or single family units normally exempt from Fair Housing accessibility requirements must provide a minimum of 20% of one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom units with an accessible entry level on multi-level units and all common-use facilities in compliance with the Fair Housing Guidelines.
  1. TCDD supports the change also found in Section 10.101 b) (8) that will require all applications proposing Rehabilitation (including Reconstruction) to be treated as Substantial Alteration so that 5% of units will be required to be set-aside to accommodate persons with mobility impairments and 2% set-aside for persons with visual impairments.

    • According to "Priced Out 2012," the lack of accessible housing impedes efforts to expand community-based services and supports through Medicaid optional and waiver services and federal initiatives, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Money Follows the Person Demonstration program.ii Adding this requirement is a praiseworthy approach to breaking down barriers to community living for individuals who need an accessible living environment.

TCDD appreciates the responsiveness of TDCHA to increasing community living options for individuals with disabilities who require deeply affordable, integrated, accessible housing options. Thank you.
Respectfully submitted,
/S/
Belinda Carlton
Public Policy Specialist
Belinda.carlton@tcdd.texas.gov


i Cooper, E., et al. Priced Out 2012 – The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities. May 2013. Pg. 5 Retrieved October 15, 2013 from tacinc.org/media/33368/PricedOut2012.pdf

ii Ibid.