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Low-income housing project in Mission

Mission’s city council has taken steps paving the way for an Austin-based developer to increase the number of rent-subsidized apartments in the city.


As it stands now there is an 18-month to two-year wait for one of the approximately 1,000 subsidized housing units managed by the Mission Housing Authority, said Jaime Ayala, the authority’s deputy executive director. Ayala said there are currently 1,700 families on the authority’s waiting list hoping to obtain low-income housing in the city.

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And county wide only 6 percent of the just under 10,000 housing units subsidized by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) remain unoccupied, according to statistics provided by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).   


On Monday the council approved a request from Tejas Housing Group to rezone 8.5 acres of land at the southeast corner of Bus. 83 and San Antonio Avenue to provide apartments with rents subsidized through a program administered by the TDHCA.


Located between Glasscock and Stewart Roads, the rezoning from heavy commercial to multi-family residential would allow construction of a 104-unit apartment complex, 84 units of which would be dedicated to helping the city’s “working poor,” said Tim Lang, director of tax credits and acquisitions for Tejas Housing Group. The developers plan to call the eight building complex, Mission Twin Oaks.


Unlike HUD-subsidized housing, Lang said the proposed project utilizes a federal income tax break that allows developers to reduce the construction costs and charge reduced rents based on HUD sliding scales that are determined by household income and occupancy.


“We’re not Section 8 and we’re not HUD,” Lang said. Section 8 is a common name for the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program. It allows private landlords to rent apartments and homes at fair market rates to qualified low income tenants, with a rental subsidy administered by HUD. HUD also administers publicly owned subsidized housing.


“We serve basically the working poor. So it’s those who earn too much for Section 8 and don’t earn enough to comfortably live in market rate housing,” Lang said.
Also Monday the council approved a resolution supporting the project. The action is required by the TDHCA’s application process. Tejas Housing Group has until March 1 to complete its application to the TDHCA.  Lang said there were 20 other groups vying for the tax credit. The TDHCA will not make a final selection until July, said Kristina Tirloni, a TDHCA communications advisor.


In other action Monday the council authorized staff to solicit bids for an asphalt overlay improvement project. The project will also include utility adjustments and replacement of damaged concrete curbs and gutters.  Streets earmarked for the improvements include those in the Colinas Del Rio Subdivision, Los Ebanos Road between Exp. 83 and Mile 1 South Road, Mayberry Road between FM 405 and the Mile 2 Road. Also set for improvements are Fairway Street from Bryan Road to Highland Park Avenue.


And the council approved Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez’s request to submit a grant application for $60,000 to the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division. If granted the money would be used to implement a program for first time offenders between the ages of 10 and 16. The program is designed to mentor children and provide them with a second opportunity to succeed in life, Dominguez said.  After successfully completing the six-month program the child’s arrest record would be destroyed. During this time the youth and their families would get counseling to help the youth make wiser decisions in the future. If granted the city would not be required to provide matching funds, Dominguez said.


In other police business a No Parking Zone was approved for the 2200 block of Creed Run Road. Dominguez told the council when vehicles were parked on the street there was only room for one vehicle at a time to move north or south.


Authorization was also given to solicit bids to replace four drive-thru units outside and four teller units inside the Mission Water Department. City Manager Martin Garza said the existing units were getting old and need to be replaced with new equipment.


Following an executive session Mayor Norberto Salinas was authorized to execute a Water Operations Agreement, Water Delivery Contract and Permanent Water Supply Contract with United Irrigation District. The water supply contract addresses subdivisions excluded after 1981 and before 2016. The new operational agreement establishes the boundaries of Water District 16 and District 14.


And a request to replace the flooring on the southern half of the main Boys and Girls Club gym near Mission High School was approved.


Editor Joe Henton contributed to this story

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