New stories from KUHF and the Houston Business Journal are reporting that Washington is dispatching a team of housing experts to Houston to whip the city’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office into shape.
According to KUHF’s story, Mayor Annise Parker contacted HUD officials as soon as she took office, asking for help to overhaul the city’s program.
“We worked very, very hard to resolve — I think there were 32 different issues that had to be fixed. This is a different situation,” Parker said. “We’ve established a relationship of trust, I turned to HUD and said, ‘show us the way we need to go, help us move forward.”
Houston’s HUD has long had a strained relationship with the department’s headquarters, according to KUHF, and over a three year stretch, HUD’s national experts will work to assess the needs of the Houston department and then redevelop its programs.
According to the Houston Business Journal, the U.S. HUD will invest roughly $500,000 in the overhaul, including improvements in equity fund investments and renovation projects.
HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Marquez told KUHF that HUD’s investment in Houston is a partnership focused on bettering the city’s services.
“Truthfully, when you ask and you design the help together, what you get is a deeper and broader response — and so, a much better one,” Marquez said, alluding to Parker’s requests for assistance. “We’re involved in other cities, but I would say this is the first city where we negotiate up front the broad array of technical assistance with the exact providers that will come in as a team.”