Opening a Can of Whoopass

Rewind to this time last month when a visibly upset Mayor Eric Hogue of Wylie read the riot act to the developer of Mariposa, the 55+ low income housing project eyed for behind Target. He was upset that the developer was bringing this low-income 55+ project to Wylie when there was a family low-income project proposed within walking distance in Sachse.  What’s more, after reading him the riot act, and doing his best to sound mayoresque with good intentions (true to form as was printed in the paper where the media Hogue was quoted), he went ahead and voted to approve the developer’s request anyway.  Bait and switch, seems to be the tactical choice of Wylie’s leaders these days.  I hear the sound of a metal ring being flipped up on a can.

Fast forward to yesterday and to what I cannot believe I have been sent anonymously.  I cannot believe our Mayor has the audacity to sit on his throne and make serious decisions about the livelihoods of 100+ renters that might make application to live in the proposed Mariposa 55+ low-income housing project.  I cannot believe he will allow these piss poor people to set up housekeeping on a street that has no public transportation and no chance to make more than minimum wage.  I cannot believe he will allow these people at 60% income of the average Wylie household income level to pay 32% of their annual gross income for these low-income apartments.  Not only is he setting these renters up for failure, he is setting the taxpayers of Wylie up for failure too because the riff-raff that actually steps foot through those newly opened doors will begin costing us dearly.  Riff-raff you say?  I know, you are wondering how I can call our elderly riff-raff.  Stay with me, because you are about to find out just who is likely to be renting from this Mariposa low-income monstrosity. I hear a slight crackle of the can under pressure.

Let me be the first to let the public know what our council members have gotten Wylie’s taxpayers into.  I received an anonymous copy of a letter that was sent to Mayor Eric Hogue on February 24th:

From: REMOVED
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 10:52 AM
To: Hogue, Eric
Subject: FW: Tax credit info
Importance: High

Eric,

Below is the email I received from TDHCA regarding age restrictions (with income chart attached).  As you can see, the Competitive Housing Tax Credit Program does not prevent a developer from renting to families – it just prevents them from marketing the development for families.  This is the information I shared at the REMOVED INFO meeting on REMOVED.  

Also, TDHCA clarified that while most units would be restricted to those with income at or below 60% of the Area Median Family Income (AMFI), 20% or more of the units must be occupied by those with income at or below 50% AMFI.  Additionally, a small percentage of the units must be occupied by those with income at or below 30% AMFI. 

My concern is that because the developer is not being forthright and this information is not being shared with the community, many residents are falsely assuming that this development will be an option, in the future, for themselves or their aging parents.   I think many folks will be surprised to learn that although their hard-earned tax dollars were used for the development of Mariposa, they will be restricted from residing there.

Please let me know if you need anything else.   

Thanks,
REMOVED

From: Michael Lyttle [mailto:michael.lyttle@tdhca.state.tx.us]
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 2:41 PM
To: REMOVED Subject: Tax credit info
Importance: High

REMOVED,

I have attached an income chart for the proposed elderly development in Wylie.

To clarify the issues about a seniors development … the applicant does not need to state up front if they are going to go the route of 100% of the units filled with persons age 62 and over or 80% of the units with at least one person at age 55 or older.  As long as they are doing one or the other, they meet the criteria.  We do check developments every year to make sure they have income qualified people in them.

Also, I want to note that if they choose the option of (80% for one person 55 and older), they cannot market or advertise their property to families.  All of their amenities and services and marketing must be focused at seniors.  If they have a family come in that income qualifies and they have an open unit, that is how they could conceivably rent to a “family” per se.

----------------------------------
Michael Lyttle
Director of Policy & Public Affairs
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
221 E. 11th Street | Austin, TX 78701
Office: 512.475.4542
Mobile: 512.964.1573
Fax: 512.469-9606

About TDHCA
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs administers a number of state and federal programs through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to strengthen communities through affordable housing development, home ownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services for Texans in need.  For more information, including current funding opportunities and information on local providers, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us.

In an attachment I was sent the following information which I will limit to a family of 4 for brevity:

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Rent and Income Limits1 (As of 2/9/2012)
HTC Limits for Wylie, Texas
AMFI Number of Household Members

Applying the information from our State Representative’s office, here is an example:
Family of 4 at 60% income level must have a household income of $42,060 or less
20% of the units = 20 units, a family of 4 at 50% income level must have a household income level of $35,050 or less
A small percentage of the units, family of 4 at 30% income level must have a household income level of $21,030 or less



RENT LIMITS
Using our same family of 4 examples above:
30% income level the rent is $568
50% income level the rent is $947
60% income level the rent is $1,137

For a family of 4 making at the 60% income level and rent of $1,137 per month, their total annual rent is $13,644 or 32% of their gross income. 



Sucking sound and CRACK!  Now is the moment I am going to ask some of my friends to come peel me off the ceiling because I have just opened a huge can of whoopass and I feel the reverberation starting. 

As long as the developer doesn’t ‘market’ to anyone but the elderly, if 100 families walk in Mariposa to apply and they fit the low-income criteria, they will not be turned away.  WTH?

Was Mayor just trying to be nice or did he truly not understand the implications of what he has done to Wylie when he chose to ignore all the flashing signs that screamed like demons that this was a bad deal about to go down at the council meeting January 24th?  Did he steer the other council members astray, being the head cheerleader of Wylie and all?  Jones was not in attendance, but Culver and Goss were the only ‘no’ votes.  Spillyards, White, Byboth, and Hogue all voted to approve this low-income housing project, even though they knew at the time they voted to approve this that the low-income project in Sachse was still very viable.  Thankfully the project in Sacshe has been scrapped as of this writing, but can you imagine if it had not been?

On what planet did 4 of our city council members think voting to approve this 55+ low-income housing project was a good idea?  Well to be honest, I cannot totally blame Spillyards, Byboth, and White.  Silly ass kids just thought they were tossing a little bone to their elderly constituents in the audience.  To be honest, I agree that our community needs to show that we care about our elderly, but this!  This is the height of stupidity!  If this thing passes, we have the dire possibility that dozens of low income families are going to run over there and apply and here we sit with the possibility of a bunch of low-income students being admitted to our school district again.  Nice decision making skills.

The developer has not been forthcoming with council with regard to this little piece of business.  It begs to be asked then, were we fed a huge lie by this developer and this council?  It certainly feels like it.