HHA Post-Harvey UPDATE: Forest Green Townhomes & Clayton Homes


Houston - (Oct. 11, 2017) - With Hurricane Harvey's destruction still impacting the city, the Houston Housing Authority (HHA) is working to help residents recover across the Houston area, including the relocation of families at Forest Green Townhomes and Clayton homes to safe, quality units.

Updates Regarding Forest Green Townhomes:

  • Residents of Forest Green Townhomes are receiving Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) for emergency transfers following an inspection facilitated by the HHA. The living conditions in 82 of the 100 total units have been deemed uninhabitable after incurring significant damages from flooding as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Forest Green is an HHA housing community located on fourteen wooded acres in northeast Houston.  
  • HCVs, formerly known as Section 8, is a federally-funded program that allows low-income families, seniors and persons with disabilities to live in rental housing in the private market at an affordable price. HHA pays part of the rent directly to the landlord, and families pay the remaining rent, spending no more than 40 percent of their income. HCVs can be used at any voucher-accepting rental units in the U.S.
  • Due to dwindling local housing options, the HHA requested vouchers from housing authorities nationwide, which would allow families from Forest Green to relocate to another housing property. The Oklahoma City Housing Authority responded to the HHA's request by agreeing to provide the vouchers. These vouchers will be issued by HHA in order to keep families away from flood-related health hazards and can be used in the Houston area immediately. 
  • In addition to the vouchers, HHA is offering relocation assistance in the form of a one-time payment of $1,200.00 to relocate residents to their preferred housing choice or to use an HHA-approved moving company at no expense. The authority will also be paying security deposits to landlords for the residents' new units. 
  • Due to the extremity of property damages, the HHA has requested full access to the unit to expedite the necessary repairs. To help further ensure residents relocate as swiftly as possible to avoid health risks, the HHA is also providing boxes and moving supplies, coordination of volunteers to assist with moving, reimbursement of security deposits and application fees towards a new unit and coordination with FEMA for eligible residents to receive additional benefits.
  • Tenants, whose units were deemed as uninhabitable and who did not pay rent for August and/or September 2017, will not be penalized for unpaid rent. For residents who paid rent prior to storm, the HHA has issued reimbursement checks for rent and security deposits if their unit was deemed uninhabitable after Harvey. The refunded rent includes a 4-day proration from August 26, 2017 (day of the storm) and the full month for September 2017.
  • The HHA will be holding an on-site residents' meeting today to provide updates and answer questions. HHA will discuss health and safety concerns surrounding the community, vouchers secured by HHA and proper protocol for completing paperwork to receive vouchers and locate housing.

Updates Regarding Clayton Homes:

  • Tenants at Clayton Homes whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey are set to receive HCVs this week from HHA, which will allow families to relocate to any voucher-accepting unit in the U.S. 
  • Clayton residents, who were informed they would receive vouchers at an Oct. 5 resident meeting, will attend briefings this week hosted by HHA to receive in-depth about the voucher program and assistance in locating a new home from the list of voucher-accepting developments identified by HHA. Similar to the residents at Forest Green, Clayton residents will also be receiving moving assistance and have been issued rent reimbursement.
  • A recent inspection of Clayton Homes indicated health and safety risks, such as mold growth and elevated levels of E. coli in the units that were flooded. Affected households stayed with family and friends or FEMA provided hotels following the storm. HHA submitted a demolition request for 112 of the 296 units at Clayton, which allowed HHA to receive the vouchers for residents. 
  • HHA decided demolition was the best course of action for the damaged units since the entire property is located on land acquired by eminent domain and will face eventual demolition for TxDOT's I-45 freeway extension. When the remainder of Clayton units are demolished in a few years, the remaining residents will either be relocated to another public housing unit or receive HCVs. A residents meeting was held earlier this year to share this update.

The number of Houston homes that have been damaged in total - if not completely destroyed - by Hurricane Harvey varies dependent upon the source, but undoubtedly, it has caused an influx of displaced Houstonians and depleting numbers of available local housing options. 

Though the lack of affordable housing in Houston existed prior to the storm, the shortage has been intensified by Harvey and will require long-term solutions. Before Harvey, HHA actively sought opportunities to build new affordable housing developments in the city, and as a part of the post-recovery plan, the authority will continue to do so while providing immediate relocation assistance to affected residents.

###

For media inquiries, please contact Sunita Dharani at sunita@etchedcomm.com and (832) 462-0782, or Ashley Johnson at gajohnson@housingforhouston.com and (713) 260-0774.