Editorial from Executive Director Robert L. Reyna:
Outside Meddling Stops Concord Project
In September 2008, Hurricane Ike swept through South East Texas, inflicting millions of dollars worth of damage to the region. Concord Homes, a 100 unit public housing property owned by the Beaumont Housing Authority, was impacted greatly by this storm, suffering water damage and loss of roofing and siding.
In September 2012, four years after the storm, the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission earmarked $12.5 million dollars in Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery funding for the repair, rehabilitation or reconstruction of public housing in Beaumont. After much study and analysis, BHA determined the most efficient use of these funds would be to completely demolish Concord Homes and rebuild the units on the same footprint. BHA submitted this plan for approval in March 2013.
In July 2013, the State of Texas General Land Office denied BHA’s application because BHA’s plan did not appear to “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing”. Their decision was based on strong opposition from two Austin based housing advocacy groups, the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed. These advocates have demanded that replacement housing be built in neighborhoods of “higher opportunity”, preferably in the West End of Beaumont.