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Desegregation Stalls Affordable Housing A Decade After Ike

Hurricane Ike roared ashore Galveston Island and hit Houston on Sept. 13, 2008, impacting nearly 250,000 homes. In 2011, the Houston Housing Authority received $40 million in funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the time, HHA director Tory Gunsolley envisioned the funds for affordable housing. But seven years later, 154 units have been built with $12 million.

Gunsolley told the Texas Tribune that the issue is the Fair Housing Act and desegregation. State and federal agencies blocked affordable housing plans, after fair housing advocates claimed the housing would perpetuate segregation. Gunsolley planned apartments in wealthier areas, only to run into community opposition and politics. Gunsolley noted that the money is losing value, due to inflation and increasing construction costs.

The same debate will take place yet again, once money becomes available for Hurricane Harvey repairs. That storm damaged hundreds of public housing units throughout the area.

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About Mark El-Rayes

Mark El-Rayes is an award winning designer and photographer from Beirut, Lebanon. El-Rayes has over 15 years in the design industry, 5 years of which he served as a Mass Communication Specialist in the United States Navy at Naval Air Station North Island, Navy Public Affairs Support Element - West (NPASE). El-Rayes is a full-stack developer, seo specialist, photographer, and artist.