Local organization asks Texas law makers for $5 billion to fund more affordable housing

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Housing experts said home prices continue to soar while the median pay wage stays the same. Housing organizations from across the state are asking the state of Texas to give $5 billion towards more affordable housing.

“We don’t see tent cities under the expressway, or tents at Washington park full of tents, that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist,” said Zoraima Diaz-Penida, Director of Policy Innovation at the affordable housing organization, Come Dream. Come Build (CDCB).

Diaz said homelessness exists in the Rio Grande Valley, though it goes mostly unnoticed because many who cannot afford their own housing live with other family members.

“So that housing displacement isn’t as visible in this community, that isn’t to say that it doesn’t exist,” said Diaz.

Diaz explained in August 2020 the median price for a home in Cameron County was $174,000 but today, that price has gone up.

“Just last month in August the median sales price for a home was $240,000 in Cameron County,” said Diaz.

To combat the housing crisis, CDCB has joined efforts with other Texan organizations and wrote a proposal to Texas lawmakers.

“To suggest that they spend $5 billion, to allocate $ 5 billion of the total $15.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan towards affordable housing throughout the state of Texas,” said Diaz.

This money will also go towards assisting the homeless and providing more rental assistance to those in need.

Diaz said that providing more home buyers with affordable homes will achieve both long and short-term goals.

“Because individuals that purchase a home will continue to pay property taxes on this home in the future,” said Diaz. “But also to provide an opportunity to create more affordable rental housing and affordable homeownership.”

To date, Diaz said pending evictions are a growing concern but Come Dream. Come Build. said they continue to provide rental assistance with Cameron County.

“The Cameron County emergency rental assistance program, to date has administered $2 million in assistance for rent and utilities, again throughout Cameron County,” said Diaz.

Visit Come Dream. Come Build to find out how to apply for rental assistance in Cameron County.

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